According to a International Labor Organization (ILO) report issued on Dec 1 (World AIDS Day), more than 3 million people are unable to work partially or fully due to HIV and million jobs a year are lost due to its spread. ILO added that the virus had a crippling effect on the workforce of many countries.
The spread of the virus has among children has threatened the future working generations - the report said. The ILO called for sustained action to improve access to antiretroviral (AVR) treatments to cut mortality rates, which are expected to increase from 28 million estimated for 2005 to 86 million projected for 2020. Improved access to antiretroviral drugs, ARVs, is the need of the hour for preventing the forecast becoming reality.
More than 36 million people of working age are now living with the virus - estimation by ILO. The vast majority of the groups are from sub-Saharan Africa. The ILO conducted research in 43 countries with some of the highest rates of infection in the world, of which, sub-Saharan Africa contributed to 70%. The death and illness of workers was "jeopardizing the ability of the worst affected countries to lift themselves out of poverty," said the report. It was costing them dear in terms of lost economic growth and employment opportunities.
"We need more employment opportunities for people with HIV/Aids and an end to discrimination against people with the virus to help them to secure work. For workers living with HIV/AIDS, employment is a crucial lifeline" - the report said.
With the anticipated increase in access to ARVs, it is believed that the global number of labor force participants unable to work is expected to stabilize between 2006 and 2020 in developing regions, whereas it is expected to continue to increase in Africa, where slower growth of access to ARVs is projected. To tackle this problem, the report suggests vigorous action on all fronts and in particular, in favor of workers in resource-poor settings, mobile population and women.