Effort Launched to Adopt International Labor Standard on HIV/AIDS

Noting that 169 of its 181 member states have adopted a national policy or strategy concerning HIV/AIDS, the International Labor Office (ILO) is launching a process to adopt a new international labor standard aimed at bolstering the role of the workplace in the global response to HIV/AIDS.

A new report, "HIV/AIDS and the World of Work," lays the groundwork for discussion at the 2009 and 2010 International Labor Conferences, ILO officials said. It is the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive overview of action taken by national governments and international organizations on HIV/AIDS, with specific reference to the world of work, and reveals that many countries have taken significant steps to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in the work of work.

A labor standard in the form of a recommendation would reinforce and extend the impact of the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work adopted in 2001, with its focus on the protection and promotion of rights, ILO officials said. It would further support joint action on HIV/AIDS by the ILO's tripartite constituents and other partners, and strengthen the workplace contribution to achieving Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

The first discussion at the 2009 conference will be an occasion to bring together ILO constituents to consider in detail the valuable experience gained over the past decade. The discussions will be based on Member States’ responses to a questionnaire included in the report, which asks for government, employers’ and workers’ organizations’ views on the potential scope and content of the proposed standard. Given the broad nature of the subject, labor ministries are advised to consult with other national ministries and institutions dealing with HIV/AIDS, including organizations of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and others engaged in national programs.

The report has been sent to ILO member states for their consideration and response by Aug. 31. A second report will then be produced based on their responses, with conclusions for discussion at the 2009 conference, and sent out in February 2009.

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