·  Ken Neumann Statement

World AIDS Day: Ken Neumann Statement

Today the United Steelworkers joins the global labour movement in calling on governments worldwide to demonstrate meaningful commitments to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Earlier this year, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), world leaders agreed it is possible to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

The USW calls on the government of Canada to show meaningful, global leadership to help implement the new strategy - which includes expanding HIV prevention and treatment programs - needed to achieve the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic.

Significant progress has been made over the last several years to prevent HIV infections and reduce AIDS-related deaths. However, it is clear that much more must be done to combat what is perhaps the most serious public health problem of our time.

Today an estimated 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV - 19 million of whom do not know they are infected. There are 22 million people with the disease who are not accessing life-saving treatment.

Last year more than two million people were infected, with young women and adolescent girls most at risk - accounting for more than 40 per cent of new infections.

The United Steelworkers joins the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), in co-operation with the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation, in calling on International Labour Organization (ILO) member states to step up efforts for implementing ILO R-200 - HIV and AIDS Recommendation, 2010, concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work.

Steelworkers also join the CLC in urging the Canadian government to follow up on its own R-200 assessment undertaken in 2011 and to support educational programs for workers in Canada and in other countries.

Steelworkers support the CLC's call for the Canadian government to proactively support the UNAIDS Get to Zero Discrimination strategy.

The United Nations General Assembly first declared Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day in 1988, calling for global solidarity and action to combat the pandemic.

Today, Steelworkers observe a moment of silence for the victims of AIDS. We also recommit to supporting and fighting for meaningful action, at home and abroad, for access to life-saving treatment for all who are living with HIV/AIDS and for fulfilling our collective duty to end the epidemic in this generation.

Ken Neumann
United Steelworkers National Director for Canada

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