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AFT Resolutions

INCREASING AFT MEMBERS' AWARENESS OF HIV/AIDS IN THE UNITED STATES

WHEREAS, the number of HIV and AIDS cases is rising in the United States, with between 40,000 and 44,000 new cases reported annually, in big cities, small towns and throughout all segments of the population; and

WHEREAS, AIDS has become a leading cause of death in African American and Hispanic adults; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that of the 1 million people currently living with HIV and AIDS in America, 250,000 have not been tested for the virus, and because they do not know they have contracted it, are not receiving treatment and counseling; and

WHEREAS, when diagnosis and treatment begin early, new medical advances help HIV-positive persons live longer, productive lives; they live with HIV as a chronic, but manageable condition. Yet, the CDC reports that 12 percent of women and many minorities are not being prescribed the most effective medical treatments; and

WHEREAS, at a time when treatment is available, budget cuts have significantly reduced federal support for effective HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, counseling and care programs; and

WHEREAS, many in the United States fear discussing HIV and AIDS, because of negative perceptions of the disease and discrimination against HIV-positive individuals, factors that prevent people from getting tested and seeking healthcare if they need it; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and its affiliates have shown in the United States and in Africa that more members and their communities respond to prevention messages when the union and other trusted organizations provide accurate information about HIV and AIDS:

RESOLVED, that the AFT disseminate awareness materials on HIV/AIDS prevention to affiliates, including an informational brochure in multiple languages, a speakers' roster, contact information on government agencies and community organizations involved in AIDS activities, and information about effective prevention and treatment options available in the United States; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT urge its state federations to use these materials to help educate their members about the rise of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., working in coalitions with the AFL-CIO and other unions, as well as parent and community organizations, to expand the reach of awareness and prevention messages throughout communities in which AFT members live and work. [Executive Council, February 2006]


(2006)