The ILO, cosponsor of UNAIDS

Resource list | 14 January 2009


The ILO is one of the 10 UN-system organizations which bring their efforts and resources together to implement a coherent HIV and AIDS response at global level as cosponsors of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). As the UN agency with special responsibility for HIV/AIDS on the Decent work Agenda, the ILO is committed to help achieve the joint goals set by the UN family to combat HIV/AIDS (Millennium Development Goal No. 6) and provide universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV through workplace actions.

The ILO supports national efforts on HIV/AIDS through a unique combination of standard-setting and practical actions at the workplace – in the public and private, formal and informal sectors. It builds on its long experience in protecting the rights of men and women workers and its expertise in areas such as employment, occupational safety and health or social security to contribute to the HIV/AIDS response.

Direct access to the world of work provides the ILO with a unique opportunity to contribute towards preventing new HIV infections among the most vulnerable workers in specific economic sectors. Comprehensive HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) workplace policies and programmes implemented in partnership with other stakeholders facilitate daily access to prevention, treatment, care and support by reaching men and women workers where they spend most of their daily lives.

Among others, the ability of the ILO to mobilize a wide tripartite network and its peer education approach enable it to use the workplace as a gateway to reach efficiently most-at-risk as well as key populations and mitigate the multiple impacts of the epidemic.

UNAIDS’ Outcome Framework (2009 – 2011) focuses on ten priority areas where the action of the UN family is expected to make significant contributions to break the trajectory of the HIV epidemic.

How the ILO contributes to UNAIDS priority areas through workplace programmes

  • ILO-supported workplace programmes contribute significantly to reducing sexual transmission of HIV through combination prevention.
  • ILO-supported workplace programmes aimed at both men and women contribute to preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) by promoting voluntary HIV-testing campaigns and facilitating access to treatment.
  • ILO-supported workplace programmes provide an effective entry point to ensure universal access to treatment.
  • The ILO develops comprehensive TB/HIV workplace programmes in countries with dual epidemics to provide an opportunity for workers living with HIV or TB to be voluntarily tested for the other disease in a confidential environment.
  • The ILO contributes to the creation of legal and policy environments conducive for the protection of the rights of people affected by HIV, including people living with HIV.
  • ILO–supported programmes are based on a gender-sensitive approach and multi-pronged strategies which contribute to empowering women, making them less vulnerable to HIV.
  • ILO–supported programmes focus on mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in vocational schools and educational institutions to reach young men and women workers in all sectors, including the informal economy.
  • The ILO, in line with its Decent Work Agenda, places social protection at the core of its actions on HIV/AIDS in low and middle income countries.
  • The ILO uses targeted HIV/AIDS workplace programmes to reach the clients of sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people.