For World AIDS Day, December 1, the National Union continues to support the Bracelet of Hope campaign and urges others to do likewise.
Ottawa (28 Nov. 2014) — For the 2014 World AIDS Day, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is continuing to support the Bracelet of Hope campaign to provide assistance to people with HIV/AIDS in the African country of Lesotho.
Partners within Canada and across the ocean
NUPGE has a long-standing relationship with the Bracelet of Hope campaign and its founder, Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik. In a recent letter to Dr. Zajdlik, NUPGE's National President James Clancy reflected on the partnership.
"It seems like only yesterday that you spoke at the National Union's 2007 Convention in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The next year you spoke at our women's conference in Ottawa," he wrote. "Your speech on both of those days deeply moved the delegates and, I am happy to say, many of them continue to be active in supporting efforts to provide assistance to those with HIV/AIDS in Africa."
Besides supporting the Bracelet of Hope campaign NUPGE, through its membership in the Public Services International and the Canadian Labour Congress, works to support workers in countries that have suffered under the pandemic.
Lesotho hit hard but there is hope
Lesotho, a small country of two million people, has been hit hard by HIV/AIDS. According to the Bracelet of Hope, the impact of the disease on Lesotho has been enormous with
- an HIV-prevalence rate of 23.8 per cent, about one in every four people
- 57 per cent of those infected are women
- 75 per cent of infected rate among young people
- about 200,000 children who have lost one or both parents to the disease
- grandmothers, often struggling with poverty themselves, carrying the burden of caring for AIDS orphans.
Nonetheless, there is hope. BOH says that drugs for managing HIV have become more widely available and more affordable in poor countries. Because of this, the number of people dying from AIDS in Lesotho dropped from 24,000 people per year to 11,000.
An AIDS-free country — it can be done
The world has the knowledge necessary to deal with HIV. Organizations like the Bracelet of Hope, working with its partners in Africa who are on the front lines of the fight against HIV and AIDS are making a difference. They are striving to make one country AIDS free. If one country can become AIDS free, then why not the world?
Clancy, in his letter to Dr. Zajdlik, said that the "National Union remains committed to the cause. We know that the need is great and that all of us can make a difference in the lives of our sisters and brothers in Africa confronted by the pandemic."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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