HIV/AIDS is a major threat to the world of work: it is affecting the most productive segment of the labour force and reducing earnings, and it is imposing huge costs on enterprises in all sectors through declining productivity, increasing labour costs and loss of skills and experience. In addition, HIV/AIDS is affecting fundamental rights at work, particularly with respect to discrimination and stigmatization aimed at workers and people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The epidemic and its impact strike hardest at vulnerable groups including women and children, thereby increasing existing gender inequalities and exacerbating the problem of child labour. This is why the ILO is committed to making a strong statement through a code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. The code is instrumental in helping to prevent the spread of the epidemic, mitigate its impact on workers and their families and provide social protection to help cope with the disease. It covers key principles, such as the recognition of HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue, non-discrimination in employment, gender equality, screening and confidentiality, social dialogue, prevention and care and support, as the basis for addressing the epidemic in the workplace.
The Code of Practice is a reference point for framing laws and policies in over 70 countries. It is translated into 40 languages globally.