VCT@Work Initiative targets 5 million workers for voluntary and confidential testing for HIV: ILOListen /
Sunday's observance of World AIDS Day takes place against a backdrop of remarkable progress towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder says in a message.
He says rapid expansion of access to antiretroviral treatment is one of the most outstanding achievements. Yet, such treatment is reaching only 34 per cent of the 28.6 million people eligible under the 2013 World Health Organization (WHO) treatment guidelines.
According to the ILO chief, the world of work is a major avenue for making further progress in closing the gap.
He says with this in mind, on 6 June 2013 the world of work actors launched the VCT@WORK Initiative aimed at reaching 5 million workers with voluntary and confidential HIV counselling and testing and referral to treatment services when needed.
Ryder says the VCT@WORK Initiative is a bold rights-based global partnership targeting voluntary and confidential counselling, testing and access to treatment, involving governments, employers' and workers' organizations, the private sector, the international community and civil society, including people living with HIV. And he adds, such action will help stop the epidemic in its tracks and reduce its impact.
Significantly scaling up HIV testing is indispensable to realizing the global target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment by 2015.
According to UNAIDS, approximately half of the 35.3 million people living with HIV globally do not know their HIV status – the vast majority of whom are workers.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.