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Recommendations concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010

Recommendations concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010

This booklet contains the text of the ILO Recommendation concerning HIV and AIDS and the world of work, 2010 (No. 200), and the accompanying Resolution for the promotion and implementation of the Recommendation which reflect the strong support of the ILO’s tripartite constituents.

The HIV pandemic is one of the most significant challenges to health, development, and economic and social progress facing the world today. In the countries that are worst affected, the impact of HIV and AIDS has eroded decades of development gains, undermined economies and destabilized societies. HIV is expected to continue to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in many countries and populations.

HIV poses a significant obstacle to the attainment of decent work and sustainable development. It has led to the loss of the livelihoods of millions of persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. Its effects are concentrated among the most productive age groups and it imposes huge costs on enterprises through falling productivity, increased labour costs and the loss of skills and experience. In addition, fundamental rights at work are often violated on the basis of real or perceived HIV status, particularly through discrimination and stigmatization directed at workers living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. To make matters worse, the pandemic tends to move along the fault lines of society, particularly affecting groups that are already disadvantaged or marginalized.

The world of work is playing a crucial role in addressing HIV and AIDS. It offers a valuable entry point to reach women and men workers in the setting where they spend much of their lives: the workplace. The development and implementation of workplace policies and programmes on HIV and AIDS facilitate access to prevention, treatment, care and support services for workers and their families and dependants, thereby also reaching out to the larger community. And yet, the important role of the world of work in addressing the pandemic has not been optimally utilized. If it is to make its full contribution to addressing the pandemic, it is essential for action in the world of work to form an integral part of national HIV and AIDS policies, programmes and strategies.

In 2001, the ILO adopted the Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work, which has been widely accepted and used in many countries. In 2007, the Organization’s constituents decided that the time had come to raise the response of the world of work to HIV and AIDS to a different level through the development and adoption of an international labour standard. The resulting Recommendation No. 200 constitutes an unequivocal commitment by the ILO’s constituency of member States and the representatives of employers and workers, in close collaboration with organizations of people living with HIV and partner international organizations, in particular UNAIDS, to tap into the immense contribution that the world of work can make to ensuring universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

The Recommendation reflects the need to strengthen workplace prevention efforts and to facilitate access to treatment for persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. It calls for the design and implementation of national tripartite workplace policies and programmes on HIV and AIDS to be integrated into overall national policies and strategies on HIV and AIDS and on development and social protection. It calls for respect for the fundamental human rights of all workers, including observance of the principle of gender equality and the right to be free from compulsory testing and disclosure of HIV status, while encouraging everyone to undertake voluntary confidential HIV counselling and testing as early as possible. The Recommendation also invites member States to implement its provisions through amendment or adoption of national legislation where appropriate.

Where workers are free from stigma and discrimination on the Where workers are free from stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV status, they and their dependants benefit from improved access to HIV education, information, treatment, care and support at the national and workplace levels. Such access helps them to lead long and productive lives and to contribute to the national economy and the community.

Based on the Recommendation and its accompanying Resolution, the ILO is committed to strengthening its action to support the implementation of international and national commitments to protect the rights and dignity of workers and of all people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.

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