Know your HIV Status: The Earlier, the Better

20-21 November 2014, India: The ILO conducted a two-day workshop for the mainstreaming officers working across the country in India under the theme: the Earlier, the Better. The workshop emphasized the benefits of knowing HIV status earlier, discussed the status of HIV testing amongst workers in India and launched a communication package to promote voluntary HIV testing amongst workers.

News | 21 November 2014
The workshop “National Workshop on Strengthening the World of Work and Private Sector Response in NACP-IV” was organized by the ILO in New Delhi in partnership with the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.

Supporting NACO under the VCT@Work initiative, the ILO assisted NACO to analyze the data related to testing of workers from the National Strategic Management Information System (SMIS). Analysis of data coming from Integrated Testing and Counseling Centres was done to gather insights on HIV trends among workforce.

Thanking the ILO for the support, Dr. Ashok Kumar Deputy Director General, Strategic Information Management Unit and Basic Services, said, “We had this data but we had not analyzed it from the workers’ perspective. This exercise provides very useful insights which will help us reposition our workplace initiatives.”

Of 12 million people tested during 2013-14 (April 2013 – March 2014), 7.9 million were workers. Of these, 0.82 million (1.7%) tested positive - men (1.8%), women (1.5%), and transgender (4.3%). Highest positivity was found among truckers (3.10%) followed by transport workers (2.007%) non-agricultural labours (1.92%), hotel staff (1.74%)and agricultural labourers (1.70%).

While India is showing declining trends in overall HIV prevalence, 1.7% positivity in its workforce should be a matter of concern and economic sectors found to be having high HIV positivity need to be prioritized for action. Officers coming from different states took into account the data from their states and decided to focus on the selected sectors for repositioning their workplace programme.

The communication package under the theme of “The Earlier, The Better was launched by Mr. Agarwal Joint Secretary NACO. It includes 3 short videos, 2 posters and a leaflet. The key message of this communication package is early detection of HIV can help you in leading a healthy and productive life.