The 24th October is the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), when the UN officially came into being. It is an important day for highlighting the aims and achievements of the UN and mobilising support for the important work the organisation carries out. The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme (SWHAP) works in close cooperation with certain UN agencies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in contributing to the response to HIV and AIDS through workplace programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. SWHAP provides support for HIV workplace programmes in over 200 workplaces in ten countries. Working in partnership with 106 companies and respective unions, workplace programmes are reaching out to employees, their families and vulnerable populations in the community. In doing so SWHAP strives to contribute to the achievement of the international development goals set by the UN, in particular Millennium Development Goal 6, “Combating HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other diseases”.
SWHAP is also part of the ILO’s Inter-Agency Task Team on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work, and supports campaigns such as, “Getting to Zero at Work” and “VCT@Work”, an initiative to reach 5 million workers with voluntary HIV counselling and testing by 2015. As well as providing opportunities for testing, the initiative aims to ensure that those testing positive are referred to appropriate treatment, care and support services. SWHAP is recognised as one of the few programmes aligned to this approach and which incorporates the implementation of the ILO’s Recommendation 200 in its model for workplace HIV and AIDS programmes. This Recommendation is the first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work.
Recently SWHAP partnered with the ILO in Zimbabwe to support the development of a specific HIV and AIDS policy for the engineering sector, working with the sector representatives of the employers, the National Engineering Workers Union (NEWU) and the National Employment Council. The policy will ensure safe and healthy working environments free of stigma and discrimination on the basis of HIV status.