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Celebrating World AIDS Day

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December 1 is World AIDS Day and OPSEU is gathering with families, friends, and lovers who remember those whom they have lost to HIV/AIDS.

In their memory, we support the Stephen Lewis Foundation in ensuring that resources are delivered to the grassroots organizations that are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa. This is in keeping with the 2019 World AIDS Day theme, “Communities Make the Difference.”

The Stephen Lewis Foundation has supported more than 325 organizations in the 15 African countries hit hardest by the pandemic, on over 1,700 initiatives. OPSEU provides financial assistance and solidarity support to ensure that we end this pandemic.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas reminds us to “never let our guard down when it comes to HIV/AIDS.”

Although treatments are available in the west, the picture in the rest of the world is more grim. A recent report published by the OPSEU Live and Let Live Fund identifies the impact of the disease on different equity seeking groups. Indigenous and racialized women continue to be among those hardest hit by the disease and lack of adequate treatment.

“Each life matters and regardless of whom is most impacted, available treatment should follow the disease,” adds Joseanne Job, chair of the OPSEU Live and Let Live Fund.

UNAIDS, the United Nations agency that works with government, the private sector and communities to fight the disease, wants to end the pandemic by 2030. OPSEU stands with UNAIDS in obtaining that goal. In the meantime, we will work to ensure that those who are infected with HIV/AIDS have the medical care they need, and the dignity that they deserve.

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says it’s important to be part of the fight and to be part of the solution.

“Whether or not you’ve been personally touched by someone with HIV/AIDS, as so many of us at OPSEU have, on December 1 wear a red ribbon,” Almeida urges.

“And if you can, consider making a donation to the Live and Let Live Fund. It doesn’t have to be large, but you may just save a human life.”