Call to Action on HIV/AIDS

WHEREAS, the CDC estimates that at the end of 2008, an estimated 1,178,350 persons aged 13 and older were
living with HIV infection in the United States. Of those, 20% had undiagnosed HIV infections I;

WHEREAS, young people aged 13–29 accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in 2009. Among young black men who have sex with men, new HIV infections increased 48% from 2006 through 2009ii ;

WHEREAS, while a cure is yet unknown, no one should suffer or die from a preventable disease; WHEREAS, people living with HIV and AIDS are living longer, healthier lives than ever before;

WHEREAS, unemployment, underemployment and low-wage/no benefit jobs are a detriment to all of our communities – and correlate with survival rates;

WHEREAS, the labor movement and working people of this country know too well the struggles faced by the long-term unemployed seeking to re-enter the workforce, and live productive lives supporting themselves and their families with respect and dignity;

WHEREAS, strong union contracts are a vital protection for LGBT+ people to combat employment discrimination and ensure good jobs with fair pay and benefits;

WHEREAS, the labor movement has a proud history of fighting for quality, affordable health care; for safe and respectful work environments, for the civil and human rights of all people, and recognizing that across the full diversity of our nation, work connects us all;

WHEREAS, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted Resolution #200, Recommendation concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010, stating,
“AIDS is a workplace issue because it has a marked impact on workers, their families and dependents, enterprises and national economies. Discrimination and stigmatization against both women and men living with HIV threaten fundamental principles and rights at work, and undermine efforts to provide prevention, treatment, care and support.
“The Recommendation marks a new milestone in the international response to the pandemic, calling for the World of Work to play a significant role in preventing HIV transmission, protecting human rights at work and mitigating the impact of the pandemic at work, on local communities and the national economies”;

WHEREAS, the UNAIDS strategy has three objectives for 2011-2015: “Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS Related Deaths”;

WHEREAS, the new National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the US charts three primary goals:

  1. to reduce new HIV injections
  2. to improve access to health care, and
  3. to eliminate health disparities;

WHEREAS, in September 2011, the Pride @ Work National Executive Board re-affirmed out commitment to work on HIV/AIDS, including promoting “Know Your Status” efforts;

WHEREAS, Pride @ Work has endorsed the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) “Call to Action: Lessen HIV Burden Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men”iii, which includes the following charge:

  • GAY COMMUNITY LEADERS to elevate HIV as a priority for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, recognizing the heavy impact of HIV on young gay and bisexual men, particularly young men of color, as an important equity issue in the LGBT community. As at the beginning of the epidemic, the LGBT community must engage in thoughtful dialogue about why HIV remains such a dominant challenge, and foster the community cohesion that gives young gay and bisexual men the support needed to overcome stigma and homophobia and to adopt healthy behaviors, irrespective of HIV status.
  • COMMUNITY LEADERS to respond to HIV with equanimity across the community, fighting with equal passion for young gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and women, and children. Your leadership is essential. We ask you to follow President Obama’s example and embrace young gay and bisexual men as family and community members who need to know that they are not forgotten, and that their lives matter; and,

WHEREAS, the LGBT nonprofits and the labor movement will be even stronger and our work more whole when we have better representation of youth, people of color, people living with HIV/AIDS, LGBT people and particularly transgender individuals in our staff and leadership.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we call on the members of Pride @ Work and all of the LGBT community and Labor Movement to:

  • Recommit to the fight to end HIV/AIDS and to support people living with HIV/AIDS
  • Make HIV/AIDS education, testing and prevention a top priority to achieve both U.S. and international goals
  • Work in partnership with HIV/AIDS organizations in our shared struggle for good jobs, working to break the cycle of poverty, marginalization and inadequate access to quality health care
  • Promote and educate amongst our members and partner organizations the resources within the HIV/AIDS community and public agencies providing vocational training, job skill training and other employment resources devoted to helping our members and allies to allow those who are able to to get back to work in good jobs
  • Further educate union members, leaders and LGBT partners on best employment practices treatment of workers living with HIV/AIDS that is supportive, fair and without stigma
  • Educate our members and allies on the issues of LGBT and HIV/AIDS criminalization within the US and abroad that create barriers to quality care, create stigma, and dehumanize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.
  • Develop intentional strategies for outreach and leadership training of those who are HIV+ as well as young black men, transgender women, and all communities at heightened HIV risk for inclusion in movement diversity work; in P@W leadership trainings; and any other movement trainings to support inclusion of representative leadership in the staff and elected offices of our organizations .

i CDC. HIV Surveillance — United States, 1981–2008. MMWR 2011 60(21); 689-693.