102nd International Labour Conference

Launch of a landmark global initiative on HIV in the world of work

UNAIDS and the ILO to launch new initiative to provide 5 million working women and men with Voluntary and confidential HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT@WORK) by 2015.

Media advisory | 04 June 2013

Geneva (ILO News) - On 6 June 2013, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, and UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, will launch the ILO’s VCT@WORK initiative to provide voluntary and confidential HIV counselling and testing for 5 million working women and men by 2015.

Mr. Ryder and Mr. Sidibé will be joined by Jacqueline Mugo, Director, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and Luc Cortebeeck, President of the Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens. The 6 June event is open to the media and will start at 13:15 in Room XVI of the Palais de Nations in Geneva.

VCT@WORK is the ILO’s contribution to achieving Millennium Development Goal 6 on combatting HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, which includes the target of ensuring access to treatment for 15 million people living with HIV by 2015, as set out in the 2011 UN General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. According to UNAIDS, it is estimated that seven million people are currently eligible for treatment, but are not accessing it. The majority of them do not know their HIV status. The workplace is an ideal entry point to generate a demand for, and increased access to, testing and treatment.

While standing firmly by the principle that there should be no HIV screening for employment purposes, the ILO’s VCT@WORK initiative re-energizes voluntary testing and emphasizes the right of workers to know their status and access treatment when needed.

The ILO’s employer and worker social partners will play a key role as agents of change to normalize and demystify HIV testing in the implementation of the initiative at the country level.

The launch of the initiative takes place during the ILO International Labour Conference in Geneva, which brings together around 5,000 delegates representing governments, employers and workers from the ILO’s 185 Member States to discuss issues including social protection in an ageing world, sustainable development and social dialogue.

For more information, please contact: Adam Bowers, Communications Officer, ILO Geneva, +41 22 799 6348