State­ment by ILO Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Guy Ry­der on World AIDS Day 2014

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Presently, the Soufriere Com­mu­nity Ac­cess Cen­tre and its en­vi­rons are served by eigh­teen (18) strate­gi­cally placed Ac­cess Points pro­vid­ing di­rect in­ter­net ac­cess at 10 Megabits up­load and down­load

speed.

Over the next five (5) years the NTRC will own and sub­si­dize the project en­sur­ing the ser­vices are ac­ces­si­ble to all in an in­clu­sive and ef­fi­cient man­ner. The Project will sub­se­quently be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Min­istry re­spon­si­ble for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and ICT.

The NTRC/USF marks the com­ple­tion of the in­stal­la­tion of in­fra­struc­ture for broad­band ser­vices and the

pro­vi­sion of equip­ment to the Com­mu­nity Cen­tre and its en­vi­rons. We ap­peal to the pub­lic to ap­pre­ci­ate and max­i­mize the use of this fa­cil­ity.

Cur­rently, the USF has com­mit­ted to the fol­low­ing projects through­out St. Lu­cia.

• • • •

The in­stal­la­tion of fif­teen (15) pay­phones in iden­ti­fied un­der­served ar­eas through­out

St. Lu­cia

Broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity and equip­ment for the Babon­neau Li­brary and en­vi­rons Broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity and equip­ment for the Ciceron Sec­ondary School and en­vi­rons. Broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity and equip­ment for the li­braries and com­mu­nity ac­cess

Peo­ple liv­ing with HIV ex­pe­ri­ence, on av­er­age, un­em­ploy­ment rates three times higher than the na­tional av­er­age. Clos­ing the gap - the theme of this World AIDS Day - is a strong re­minder that de­spite sig­nif­i­cant progress, we have left be­hind some pop­u­la­tions at height­ened risk of in­fec­tion.

We can only achieve our goal of end­ing AIDS by 2030 if we ef­fec­tively ad­dress their needs, which in­clude de­cent jobs, re­spect for their labour rights and so­cial pro­tec­tion cov­er­age.

HIV-re­lated dis­crim­i­na­tion, gen­der based vi­o­lence and in­equal­i­ties re­main ma­jor ob­sta­cles to the up­take of HIV ser­vices, in­clud­ing test­ing. As of 2013, 19 mil­lion out of an es­ti­mated 35 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with HIV world­wide — more than half— were un­aware of their HIV sta­tus.

Where stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion are preva­lent, work­ers will be less likely to seek in­for­ma­tion, test­ing and treat­ment ser­vices, for fear of los­ing their jobs and their liveli­hoods. Peo­ple need to be aware of their HIV sta­tus so that they can seek treat­ment and pre­vent the fur­ther spread of the virus.

Re­spond­ing to this chal­lenge, the ILO launched the VCT@Work Ini­tia­tive, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with UNAIDS and a range of part­ners. To date, the ini­tia­tive has reached over one mil­lion work­ers and mo­bi­lized close to 500,000 to un­der­take the HIV test, 37 per cent of whom are women.

The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Re­port 2014 shows how suc­cess­ful we have been in break­ing the con­spir­acy of si­lence, and bend­ing the tra­jec­tory of the AIDS epi­demic. But it also re­minds us that we still have es­sen­tial un­fin­ished business in or­der to erad­i­cate AIDS by 2030.

Ad­e­quate so­cial pro­tec­tion cov­er­age is part of this un­fin­ished business. So­cial pro­tec­tion must be ex­panded to in­clude peo­ple liv­ing with HIV and their house­holds be­cause it im­proves their eco­nomic se­cu­rity and en­ables ac­cess to and ad­her­ence to ef­fec­tive HIV treat­ment.

In the post-2015 sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment sce­nario, we will have to keep our sights fixed on the goal of end­ing AIDS by 2030. We need both to ex­pand and speed up our ef­forts to­wards the most vul­ner­a­ble and those who have the least ac­cess to treat­ment. Elim­i­nat­ing HIV-re­lated stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion and pro­mot­ing em­ploy­ment and so­cial pro­tec­tion cov­er­age for peo­ple liv­ing with HIV is an es­sen­tial part of this agenda.

As we cel­e­brate this World AIDS Day and re­flect on how far we have come, let’s ac­cel­er­ate our push to close the gap. Let’s end AIDS by 2030.

A call to close the gap ahead of 2030.

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