The role of public-private partnerships in response to HIV and AIDS and the relevance of action at the workplace are being highlighted at the 19th International AIDS Conference.

WASHINGTON, DC (ILO News) – The Head of the ILO Programme on HIV/ AIDS and the world of work has called for “more involvement from the private sector” in the global response to HIV and AIDS at the International AIDS Conference (IAC) taking place in Washington, DC.

The ILO highlights the importance of workplace responses to HIV and AIDS and the need to implement policies to reduce stigma and discrimination at work.

“We have seen that action in the workplace helps companies understand the issue better and results in triggering action beyond workplaces through the mechanism of public private partnerships,” Alice Ouedraogo, Head of the ILO HIV/AIDS Programme, explains.

“These partnerships enable companies to take the programme to their supply chains, to set up prevention programmes among vulnerable populations and to get engaged with the HIV treatment programmes,” she adds.

The ILO is partnering with over 3 000 enterprises worldwide, providing technical support for development and implementation of workplace policies and programmes.

For instance in Mozambique, over 600 companies have set up workplace prevention programmes and linked their staff to treatment and care. A monitoring and evaluation system has been developed under which companies provide information on their HIV activities to the national AIDS programme.

In India, the ILO has teamed up with 14 large corporate houses which have developed comprehensive HIV programmes to cover their workers, including contractual workers. Some have entered into partnership with the government’s AIDS programme and set up counselling, testing and treatment facilities.

In the Caribbean, the ILO provided support to integrate HIV into the occupational safety and health policies and programmes that involved employers, workers and governments.

“These are only a few examples but on the whole, experience shows that interventions proved to be very good both for the corporate image of the companies and for national AIDS programmes,” says Ms. Ouedraogo.

“Developing these partnerships can have a huge potential to contribute to the AIDS response. Apart from resources, the private sector can bring their large distribution network, advertising and marketing skills into the programme so their contribution is essential,” she concludes.

For more information during the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington DC, please contact Josée Laporte, Technical Specialist, ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work: + 4178/882-6118.