On this World AIDS Day 2014, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) joins unions from around the world, in their call for governments to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Globally, 35 million people live with HIV, and 19 million of these do not know they are HIV-positive. Although HIV infections have dropped by 38% since 2001, there were 2.1 million people newly infected in 2013. Young women and adolescent girls are disproportionately at high risk, as more than 4 out of 10 new infections among women occur in 15-24 year olds. There are also 22 million people with the disease who are not accessing life-saving treatment.
The figures underscore the critical role of workplace training, education, and concrete actions to address the pandemic both here in Canada, and the rest of the world.
In cooperation with the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), the CLC calls on member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to step up efforts for implementing the ILO R-200 – HIV and AIDS Recommendation, 2010 [No. 200], concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work (R-200).
The CLC also urges the Canadian government to follow up on its own R-200 assessment that it undertook in 2011, and to support educational programs for workers within Canada and in other countries.
The current Ebola crisis is a grim reminder of the consequences of sidelining health systems for preventing, detecting and treating any pandemic, including AIDS. Throughout the world, health systems need to be strengthened, along with better social and financial support of workers who have become victims of AIDS.
The CLC calls on the Canadian government to intervene in the UN negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in order to incorporate the above issues within existing targets for the ILO Decent Work Agenda and to support the Get to Zero Discrimination strategy by UNAIDS.