Men have not been reached effectively in the AIDS response. VCT@WORK is an important step to change that: under this programme, nearly 70 per cent of men took the HIV test – compared to 30 per cent of women. This clearly shows that the workplace is key to effectively expanding HIV services to those who are not adequately covered."Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
Since the initiative was launched in 2013 – by the ILO, UNAIDS, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) – over 4.1 million workers and family members were counselled and took the HIV test. Over 103,000 who tested positive were referred to access antiretroviral treatment.
One of the lead companies engaged in the initiative is Coal India Limited (CIL), the largest public sector coal company in India, with 314,000 employees and a large number of contractual workers. A total of 29,580 employees and their dependants accessed HIV counselling and testing. All 141 who tested positive for HIV have been put on anti-retroviral treatment by the company.
The VCT@WORK initiative is a great innovation to reach people with HIV services at work, widening access to HIV testing for people at a time and place convenient for them."Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS
To reach workers in the informal economy, in Zimbabwe, HIV testing and counselling sessions were organized at informal sector work sites such as car repair shops, food processing units and flea markets. Mobile units also provided VCT services to workers. Workers were mobilized through informal sector operators using local structures in partnership with the local government and city councils.
In Kenya, the ILO and its partners provide HIV testing and counselling services to truckers in hotspots for sex workers along the northern transport corridor. The ILO has partnered with the Central Organization of Trade Unions in Kenya (COTU-K), Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers', Allied Workers' Union/Highway Community Health Resource Centre and Swedish Workplace HIV/AIDS Programme.
VCT@WORK is being implemented in Cambodia, Cameroon, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Russia Federation, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.