World AIDS Day 2021: AIDS is a trade union issue
Established in 1988, December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day that focuses attention on the deadly impact of this four decade-long global pandemic. In 2021, as the United Nations AIDS Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) highlights the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics across the world, the IUF adds its voice to this critical call: End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.
Over 37 million people globally were living with HIV in 2020. Over 79 million have been infected with HIV since the start of the AIDS epidemic. Over 36 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses. People living with HIV experience more severe outcomes and have higher comorbidities from COVID-19. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 67% of people living with HIV with almost no access to the COVID-19 vaccine (only 3% as of July 2021).
Trade Unions work every day fighting inequalities, fighting for human rights, fighting for healthcare for all, fighting for fair political, economic and social policies, fighting for equal access to medicines and vaccines. This work is critical to this moment in history where these inequalities exacerbate AIDS alongside other pandemics including COVID-19.
Almost 20 years ago at the 24th IUF Congress in 2002, we passed a resolution stating “In connection with December 1 and the UNAIDS campaign, the IUF emphasizes that the epidemic and efforts to combat it are vital issues for trade unionists.” As the IUF continues this work across globe, we must redouble our efforts to fight inequality in every form.