Theme: Employment is key in the life cycle approach to HIV

Globally there are an estimated 37 million people living with HIV, the majority of them are of working age. Over 35 million people have died of AIDS related illnesses, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

The recent UNAIDS report - Get on the Fast-Track: The life cycle approach to HIV - raises optimism as well as concerns. While 18.2 million people now have access to HIV treatment, there has been no reduction in the number of new HIV infections among adults in the past five years. And new infections are rising in some regions of the world including Sub-Saharan Africa.

Taking a "Life cycle approach to HIV” is essential.

Most people are in the World of Work for a large part of their life. The World of Work can play a critical role in many aspects of the AIDS response: reducing discrimination and ensuring that people are not denied the right to work; enhancing access to HIV information; facilitating access to HIV testing and treatment; and expanding the coverage of social protection.

The Federation of Kenya Employers continues to build on its past and current efforts to contribute to the goal of zero AIDS-discrimination at the workplace. Guided by the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010 (No. 200).

Since the Launch of ILO's VCT@WORK initiative promoting voluntary counselling and testing for workers is showing very encouraging results. Between July 2013 and December 2015, globally ILO through Employers, Workers and Governments was able to reach close to five million workers, test three million and refer over 85,000 to treatment. This initiative is showing what can be done and we hope that this experience will be taken on board and scaled up in workplaces everywhere.

Therefore as we celebrate 2016 World AIDS day we call upon Employers to encourage their workers to get tested and know their HIV status. Information is power and by knowing ones HIV status in good time, helps enhance the quality of life.

Jacqueline Mugo, MBS


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