UNAIDS welcomes international labour standard on HIV
Geneva, 17 June 2010 - A landmark labour standard was adopted by governments, employers and workers at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The standard aims to strengthen the global response to HIV in the workplace.
Building on the ILO 2001 Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS, the new labour standard will reinforce and extend anti-discrimination policies in the world of work. It reaffirms the right to continued employment regardless of HIV status and asserts that workers should not be screened for HIV for employment purposes. The standard also recognizes the need for focused action to protect the rights of populations that may be more vulnerable to HIV infection.
“Workers are the lifeblood of the economy and must be protected,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “The new ILO standard will bring us one step closer to our goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.”
HIV affects the most economically active age range in every population. A majority of the 33.4 million people living with HIV are workers with skills and experience that their families, communities and countries can ill afford to lose.
The new labour standard is the first internationally-sanctioned instrument that focuses specifically on HIV in the workplace. It is expected to significantly enhance the impact of HIV prevention and treatment programmes in the workforce globally.