The first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work was adopted by governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives from ILO member States at the International Labour Conference in June 2010.
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 stigmatisation 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 marginalised.
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 dependents, 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 utilised. 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.
Whilst sex work is not specifically mentioned within the ILO Recommendation No. 200 itself, the discussions and the agreement are on record (see HIV/AIDS and the world of work. The Report of the Committee on HIV/AIDS Provisional Record No.13 (Rev), which can be downloaded as a separate resource), with the clear understanding that sex work is covered by this instrument .
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