World AIDS Day 2016

Word AIDS day statement

By Mr Tim De Meyer, Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia

Statement | Beijing, China | 01 December 2016
Hi, I am Tim De Meyer, I am the Office Director for China and Mongolia to the International Labour Organization.

As we are celebrating the World AIDS Day, I bring my warm greetings to all people living with HIV and AIDS as well as all people living without HIV and AIDS. The World AIDS Day is an excellent opportunity to reflect together what people living with and without HIV and AIDS can do together and achieve together to effectively end AIDS.

At the global level it is clear that the nations around the world have joined hands in 2030 development agenda to effectively end AIDS by 2030. What we think is that there is still a long way ahead of us. We do see in the world today, there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS that prevents them from finding decent work, from providing for themselves as well as for them families.

We think these can be changed. But then every one of us together needs to understand exactly what medical condition called HIV and AIDS is about. Today we feel there are still too many misunderstandings concerning this disease that causes people living with HIV and AIDS without any scientific evidence to be excluded from the world of work or from receiving the medical care that they should receive.

The international labour organization has been granting recent years to launch an initiative that is called the VCT@work, the voluntary counselling and testing at work. Essentially we try to with manage reach out 5 million workers and 3 million of which have been convinced to undergo HIV voluntary counselling and testing to become aware of their status. So at the natural next step, they will feel confident to undergo and receive medical treatment that can supress the effects of the virus, and keep them fit so that they are not exposed to the opportunity infections that come from their HIV status. Once they remain fit, they will feel confident to remain capable for carrying out work that they normally have been trained or otherwise are competent to do. We think that is the best way forward of making sure that people living with HIV and AIDS and without HIV and AIDS understand each other. Treatment in people receiving voluntary counselling and testing, 85,000 of them have found them HIV positive and stepped forward in order to receive the treatment that they needed in order to regain full fitness. We think this is the approach that we need to take together.

The ILO fundamentally believe that anyone who has a medical condition, that does not render him or herself incapable of working should not for reasons of bias or misunderstanding excluded from the world of work. The example can be followed and that why carrying this work further we will effectively contribute to ending AIDS by 2030.