World AIDS Day 2015

The world of work can help end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030

"The next five years are critical," says ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. "Today, the ILO marks World Aids Day with a renewed commitment to a world without AIDS by 2030."

Statement | 01 December 2015
This year, we celebrate a major achievement in the response to the AIDS epidemic. Eight months ahead of schedule, 15 million people have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy. The global numbers of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths continue to fall. These are significant and welcome steps towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 6 to halt and reverse the AIDS epidemic by the end of 2015.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a bold call to action, namely to “End AIDS as a public health threat by 2030”. In support, the Joint United Nations Programme HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) adopted an ambitious fast-track strategy for 2016-2021. It aspires to three “90-90-90” targets: 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status are receiving treatment; and 90 per cent of people receiving treatment achieve suppressed viral load.

The ILO commends the five-year Fast-track initiative. As a co-sponsoring agency of UNAIDS, we are aware that however much the current pace of the HIV response has produced good outcomes, we still need to accelerate our response, and make the right decisions and right investments if we are to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The ILO will focus on reaching workers in the informal economy and migrant workers, as well as workers who are obliged to travel regularly and live away from spouses and partners, thus making them more susceptible to the risk of infections. The ILO recognizes the critical importance of involving all key populations, including the vulnerable, in national initiatives for employment creation and social protection.

The ILO’s technical advice and services will continue to expand voluntary and confidential HIV testing, as well as access to treatment at or through the workplace. In less than two years, the VCT@WORK Initiative has reached 2.5 million workers with information on and testing for, HIV and AIDS in 34 countries. The 80,000 workers who tested positive were referred for treatment. This is a significant collective success for our tripartite constituents and partners, including the organizations of people living with HIV.

Working closely with employers’ and workers’ organizations, at the same time as expanding ILO partnerships with the private sector and leveraging the private sector’s comparative advantages, will contribute significantly to achieve the fast track targets.

The next five years are critical. Today, the ILO marks World Aids Day with a renewed commitment to a world without AIDS by 2030.