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International Labour Organization: Global Labor Standard on HIV/AIDS Adopted

(June 21, 2010) On June 17, 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations body devoted to labor issues, adopted a standard on HIV and AIDS. The action came during the ILO annual meeting and is the first time an international human rights document has focused on the disease and how it is handled in the employment context. The conference also passed a resolution stating that the ILO's managers should devote resources to promoting the standard. (UN Agency Adopts First-Ever Global Labour Standard on HIV/AIDS, UN NEWS CENTRE (June 17, 2010),

The standard is in the form of an ILO Recommendation, and so it does not go through the type of adoption and ratification process that applies in the case of a convention. The ILO must communicate it to national parliaments, where its implementation will be discussed. The document states that nations should have policies and programs in place to address HIV/AIDS in the workplace and calls for an end to discrimination against employees or job applicants based on their actual or perceived HIV status. The Recommendation states that privacy should be accorded to workers and their families in relation to HIV status and also that tests for the disease may not be required. Employers are expected to give workers and their families access to prevention measures and treatment if needed. (Id.)

The Director of the ILO's program on HIV and AIDS, Dr. Sophia Kisting, praised the Recommendation as “a major contribution to making the dream of an AIDS-free generation a reality.” She also stated that with the new document, we “can harness the strength of the world of work and optimize workplace interventions to significantly improve access to prevention, treatment, care and support.” (Id.)