HIV should not be a death sentence. It is preventable and, with the right drugs, treatable. But in developing countries, people are missing out.
The key to fighting HIV/AIDS globally is to ensure people’s rights to health care, education, water and sanitation are respected and protected. Canada can play its part by increasing and improving its aid spending to ensure public access to basic medicines and health care. Here at home, Canada must do more to deal with the health issues of Aboriginal people, including disproportionately high rates of HIV/AIDS.
With more than 6,800 new infections and over 5,700 deaths each day, more needs to be done now to reduce the deadly impact of AIDS. Special attention must be provided to women and to children. Over 2,900 women aged 15 and older are infected daily, along with about 1,200 children under the age of 15. Over two-thirds of those infected live in one of the poorest regions of the world, sub-Saharan Africa.
As part of our campaign in support of public services for all, Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees are calling on rich countries like Canada to lead the fight against the pandemic by fully funding the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and supporting poor countries to build their public health systems, including the recruitment, training and retention of more health workers.
A huge boost in the numbers of health workers is urgently needed, as millions of people living with HIV/AIDS continue to be left without proper care. And while Oxfam welcomes Prime Minster Harper’s latest pledge of $105 million over the next five years to the Catalytic Initiative To Save A Million Lives, more needs to be done.
The global response to AIDS requires more and better-trained doctors, nurses and community health workers, as well as decent working conditions and adequate salaries for tens of thousands of new health care workers. This will only happen if developing countries prioritize health services in their national budgets and if donors like Canada commit to providing more of their aid for public health.
Canada can help stem the tide of AIDS. The federal government must set a timetable for raising aid to 0.7% of national income and increase aid spending to support public health systems. Here at home, more needs to be done. Programs for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS must be funded, along with programs for those at risk of infection.
For more information, please contact:
Oxfam Canada Communications
Cell: 613 850 9723
Cell: 613 222 4436