VCT@WORK: ILO new initiative to reach 5 million workers with voluntary HIV testing by 2015
The International Labour Organization (ILO), supported by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has launched an initiative to reach 5 million workers with Voluntary and confidential HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT@WORK) by 2015.
The initiative will ensure that people who test positive are referred to HIV services for care and support, and treatment if needed.
The rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy in recent years has allowed 8 million people living with HIV to access treatment – enabling them to live longer, healthier and more productive lives and remain part of the workforce. However, according to UNAIDS, it is estimated that 7 million people currently eligible for treatment are not accessing it. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 40% of people living with HIV globally, do not know their status, thus preventing them from accessing treatment. In many countries, this figure is higher than 50%.
The VCT@WORK initiative, (voluntary counselling and testing) is part of the ILO’s efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 6 and the global target of reaching 15 million people living with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment by 2015, as set out in the 2011 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.