ILO to emphasize workplace role in HIV prevention at international AIDS Conference in Mexico

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is to host a series of events at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, which opens this Sunday, designed to illustrate the growing importance of the workplace in responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Press release | 31 July 2008

GENEVA (ILO News) ─ The International Labour Organization (ILO) is to host a series of events at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, which opens this Sunday, designed to illustrate the growing importance of the workplace in responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

HIV/AIDS is having a devastating effect on the world of work. Of the estimated 33 million people now living with HIV, over 30 million are of working age. Working people in their productive prime are the age group most at risk of HIV and most affected by its impact.

The ILO’s Programme on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work (ILO/AIDS) will use the Conference as a global platform for presenting proposals for a new international labour standard on HIV/AIDS during a satellite session at 18:30 local time on Thursday 7 August.

“Workplaces are vitally important for HIV/AIDS information, prevention, non-discrimination and access to treatment,” said Dr. Sophia Kisting, Director of ILO/AIDS. “At the same time, we are seeing increasing evidence that the workplace literally ‘works’ as a vital entry point for a whole range of responses to issues raised by the pandemic.”

The new standard would reinforce and extend the ILO’s existing Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work adopted in 2001. It would further support joint action on HIV/AIDS by the ILO’s government, worker and employer constituents and other partners, and strengthen the workplace contribution to achieving Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Dr. Kisting referred to growing evidence that a combination of ILO standard-setting and practical action at the workplace is having a significant impact on HIV/AIDS prevention and care. A report of the ILO Strategic HIV/AIDS Responses in Enterprises (SHARE) programme cited the successes in a number of countries in promoting positive responses, such as reduced discrimination and safer behaviours, through information gained in the workplace.

More than 1000 workplaces across the world are now collaborating with the ILO.

The ILO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will join forces to discuss labour migration and mobility, which are emerging as increasingly critical issues in the design of AIDS responses. UNAIDS, in collaboration with the ILO and IOM, have developed a policy brief focusing on the HIV-related needs and rights of international labour migrants, which will be formally launched on Sunday 3 August at a satellite session at 09.00 local time. http://data.unaids.org/pub/Manual/2008/jc1513_policybrief_labourmigration_en.pdf.

The Conference will also see an event on Tuesday 5 August, organized by the International Organization of Employers and supported by the ILO, which will highlight the contribution of the private sector and employers’ organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS at the national level.

The ILO will host a ‘Workplace advice centre’ in the networking zone of the Global Village which will offer advice and materials on how to draft an HIV/AIDS policy or do effective prevention at the workplace (public, private, formal or informal). It will give people the chance to meet, exchange experiences and learn from each other, and will be supported by UN Plus, the support group for HIV-positive UN staff.

For more information:

For a complete list of ILO events, please go to: /public/english/protection/trav/aids/index.htm

For press enquiries during the International AIDS Conference in Mexico, please contact Susan Leather on +4179/773-1539, or go to stand 422 of the Global Village or the ILO desk in the UNAIDS booth - C322 in Exhibition Hall D.

Alternatively in Geneva you can contact Martin Murphy on +4122/799-7151 or Adam Bowers on +4122/799-6126.