Strengthening the world of work response on HIV/AIDS – AIDS Capacity building and Technical Support

Donors/funding mechanisms

The OPEC Fund for the International development (OFID)
The programme covers 11 countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guyana and Haiti.

Objectives: A comprehensive sectoral response is in place to scale up HIV/AIDS programmes in selected countries and is also integrated in the overall national response; Improved legal and policy compliance to ensure the application of the policy and legal frameworks is in place to protect the rights of affected male and female workers and their families; Effective interventions addressing prevention and impact mitigation in the formal and informal economy are designed and implemented in selected countries.

According to the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic there have been significant gains in preventing new HIV infections in a number of heavily affected countries. The combined will and efforts of governments, donors, civil society and affected communities made a difference. One of the main messages from the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic is that, while HIV has reduced life expectancy, slowed economic growth and deepened household poverty, it has also increased global consciousness of health disparities, and pooled action to confront it.

However, if the global epidemic has stabilized in terms of the percentage of people infected (prevalence), the total number of people living with HIV has increased to 33 million people globally with nearly 7,500 new infections each day. According to the Report, although some countries will be able to meet the 2010 targets in the 2001 UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, many countries will still fall behind in the achievement of universal access.

Summary: In this context, the project addresses the socio-economic factors that increase HIV risks and vulnerabilities within specific economic sectors in order to tailor targeted interventions, which will combine institutional development and workplace action.

In order to address the problem (i.e. the high HIV risk and vulnerabilities within specific economic sectors), some of the root causes are addressed in the programme:

  • High levels of stigma and discrimination in workplaces (formal and informal), which prevent people from disclosing their status and to seek care, but also undermine prevention efforts;
  • Poverty and social exclusion exacerbating the impact of HIV/AIDS and undermining capacity of individuals to respond to HIV/AIDS;
  • Weak multi-sectoral responses at country level, which create ad hoc and isolated interventions that address the symptoms but not the core problems and are not sustainable;
  • The recent economic crisis, moving many workers into the informal economy and making them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. This justifies the ILO lead role in supporting programmes addressing informal workers’ vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS and to poverty.