Getting to zero: World Aids Day | National Union of Public and General Employees

Getting to zero: World Aids Day

This is not just a Canadian fight,  it is a global fight to end the epidemic. Canada has an opportunity to contribute on both levels.

Ottawa (01 Dec. 2015) — In 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated December 1 each year as World Aids Day to demonstrate international support for those living with HIV and to honour the lives of those who died as a result of the disease. World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO.

“This year, we mark World AIDS Day with new hope,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message at the UN. He praised the activists, health workers, human rights defenders and individuals around the world who are part of community fighting for a global solution to the disease. 

“We have a lot to learn from the AIDS response,” he said. “One by one, people stood up for science, human rights and the empowerment of all those living with HIV.”

"And this is how we will end the epidemic: by moving forward together,” emphasized Mr. Ban.

Getting to zero, ending epidemic by 2030

The theme of this year's World Aids Day is Getting to Zero: zero new HIV infections. zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

At the United Nations General Assembly in September, world leaders endorsed the Sustainable Development Agenda that outlines a new framework for ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Reaching this goal means that there must be a reduction of new infections by an additional 75 per cent by 2020, and by ensuring that, in the coming five years, 90 per cent of people living with HIV are aware of their infection and that 90 per cent of those are on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Canadian perspective

In Canada, activists and health workers know that early detection and treatment lead to better outcomes. 

CATIE is an information organization that provides up-to-date, unbiased information about HIV and hepatitis C. It connects people living with HIV, Hep C and at-risk-communities to community organizations and health care practioners for resources and expertise to reduce transmission and improve quality of life. According to CATIE

  • seven Canadians are infected with HIV every day
  • one in four infected Canadians is a women
  • in Canada, new HIV infections occur disproportionately among Aboriginal people and people from countries where HIV is endemic
  • Treatment has extended the life expectancy of young Canadians living with HIV to their early 70s 
  • 21 per cent of HIV-positive Canadians don’t know their status
  • the earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the chance of living a long and healthy life

New federal government has the opportunity to contribute at home and globally to the fight against HIV

"The Liberal government has an excellent opportunity as it negotiates a new Health Accord to put concrete measures in place to support people living with AIDS and HIV," said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). 

"This means more funding, more research, increased support systems, and access to more affordable drugs," Clancy said. "This needs to happen, not only in Canada but around the world. This is a global fight."

"Our deepest appreciation goes out to our members who work as health care providers and as community service workers to help Canadians receive the best treatment and care they deserve," he concluded.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE