World AIDS Day 2012 – Getting to zero!

This years World Health Organization theme for World Aids Day, December 1, Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS Related Deaths is ambitious but achievable says the National Union.

Ottawa (30 Nov. 2012) – As World Aids Day, December 1, approaches the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) hopes that this one won't just be a symbolic gesture.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set the theme for World Aids Day until 2015 to be Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS Related Deaths. This year the campaign will be focusing on global health initiatives such as preventing new infections, eradicating AIDS-related deaths and ending the stigma and negative attitudes toward the disease and those living with the disease.

“The goal is certainly an ambitious one,” said NUPGE's National President James Clancy. “It is going to require a concerted effort by all the world's governments and every one of us. But it is achievable.”

There are 33 million people worldwide who have contracted HIV/AIDS. Of these, 5.7 million people live in South Africa. Indeed, the top 10 countries with the highest percentage people with HIV/AIDS are in Africa.

While a vaccine is many years away there are new ways of raising awareness that have been put to work towards eradicating the pandemic. Since the first World AIDS Day, held in December 1988 on the initiative of WHO public officials, James Bunn and Thomas Netter, awareness of the day and the illness grown immensely.

“We all must do more to achieve 'Getting to Zero'”, said Clancy. “It is paramount that the necessary resources are found to fund the global fight against HIV/AIDS. One tool that my union has been advocating for is a financial transactions tax, commonly referred to as the Robin Hood Tax.”

The proposal is that Canada and the world's nations would place a 0.05% (1/20th of one per cent) tax on financial transactions. It is estimated that this would generate £250 billion ($400 billion Cdn) a year. A large number of HIV/AIDS groups around the world have joined in the call for the tax to help fund the efforts to eradicate the disease.


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