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New Work Rules Could Help Fight Against HIV/AIDS

New work rules could help fight against HIV/AIDS, UN labour agency says

14 May 2008 - Many countries are taking significant steps to tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS in the workplace and their new regulations could help in the fight against scourge, according to the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).

In a statement today the ILO said that promoting human rights in the workplace for people living with HIV/AIDS would support the drive to achieving universal access to HIV prevention measures, as well as to treatment and care.

A new report from the organization, entitled "HIV/AIDS and the World of Work," finds that more than 70 ILO Member States have, or are in the process of adopting, a general law on HIV/AIDS, while 30 countries are applying, or planning to apply, specific workplace rules.

At the same time, the ILO says that HIV is having a devastating effect on the world of work. A majority of the more than 33 million people worldwide now living with HIV are still in work. They are in their most productive years, with skills and experience their families and country can ill afford to lose. However, despite major advances in attitudes and knowledge about AIDS, many workers still face discrimination, stigma and the fear of losing their job.

In a related development, the World Bank today called on African countries to continue to champion HIV prevention efforts to slow and reverse the rate of new infections. According to a new report from the Bank, for every infected African starting antiretroviral therapy, another four to six become newly infected. However, rates of infection are falling in countries such as Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi, Zimbabwe and parts of Botswana.

The World Bank has mobilized more than $1.5 billion to more than 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to combat the epidemic since 2000.

ENDS

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