Charlottetown – Unions have an important role to play in fighting the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and supporting workers and their families. That is the message the PEI Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is sending on World AIDS Day, marked each year on December 1st.

“The HIV and AIDS health crisis has many dimensions, here in Canada and around the world. It is both a human rights issue and a labour issue, closely connected to poverty, discrimination and workers’ rights”, says Lori MacKay, CUPE PEI President.  “Part of the solution can come from our workplaces, where we must ensure the full protection of both HIV positive workers and those working or living with people who are HIV positive.”

“We are proud to support CUPE’s national HIV and AIDS policy, adopted last spring. It takes a global, human rights approach to build healthy workplaces and communities for everyone.  It was shaped by 15 years of work with members, leaders, staff and community groups from across the country, as well as international allies.” The policy is available online at

To mark 2013 World AIDS Day, CUPE PEI is partnering with AIDS PEI on an Open House at the AIDS PEI Community Support Group Inc. office in Charlottetown (Sunday, Dec. 1st, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., 375 University Avenue, Unit 2, Midtown Plaza). The public will have the opportunity to meet the AIDS PEI staff and Board members, enjoy some refreshments and pick up information on HIV and AIDS.

“We are happy to work with and support AIDS PEI”, says MacKay.  “Community organizations like AIDS PEI do essential prevention and education work, while struggling to get the funding they need to carry on. CUPE advocates for resources and public services including quality health care and education that people living with HIV and AIDS depend on.”

“Unions work for fairness and equality each and every day,” notes MacKay. “Fighting HIV/AIDS is just one example.”