Workplace Attitudes Toward HIV/AIDS Much Improved: ILO

A new report given to the U.S. Department of Labor on Monday finds workers' attitudes are generally much more supportive toward co-workers who are living with HIV and toward preventive measures to prevent transmission of the virus. The International Labour Office provided the "Saving lives, Protecting jobs" report, which was prepared by the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. DOL is ILO's funding partner in the Strategic HIV/AIDS Responses in Enterprises (SHARE) project, which is active in some 650 workplaces in 24 countries, covering almost 1 million workers.

"SHARE helps to protect the ILO's constituents from HIV, which challenges the implementation of its decent work agenda," said Dr. Sophia Kisting, director of the program. "Several countries offer outstanding examples of how they address HIV/AIDS using the workplace for prevention, care, and support and tackle stigma and discrimination."

ILO has been surveyeing managers and workers at partner workplaces in six pilot countries -- Belize, Benin, Ghana, Guyana, Cambodia, and Togo -- to measure the impact of HIV/AIDS activities and non-discrimination policies. In all six countries, the proportion of workers who reported supportive behaviour toward co-workers living with HIV rose from 49 percent to 63 percent on average during the life of the program. At the start of SHARE in 2003, only 14 percent of participating companies in the six pilot countries had written HIV policies, but this latest survey found 76 percent had them. "The report shows that employers' and workers' organizations are increasingly using the ILO's Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS to develop policies and practices for the workplace," the agency said.

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