The World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) recently launched new guidelines aimed to protect health workers from occupational exposure to HIV/AIDS and TB. Health care workers are often at the frontlines of the fight against HIV, TB, and other deadly infectious diseases, yet they often lack adequate access to protection and treatment themselves.
“These guidelines directly aim to ensure that health workers have access to universal and standard precautions, preventive therapy for tuberculosis, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, treatment, compensation schemes for occupational infection, and social security or occupational insurance at the workplace,” said Asne Diop, ILO Executive Director for the Social Protection Sector, in a WHO press release.
The guidelines contain 14 action points based on workers’ rights and practical workplace health and safety programs to promote safe working environments and active participation of health workers.
“Health workers are one of our most precious resources in the global response to both HIV and TB,” commented UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Dr. Paul De Lay in the release. “These new guidelines can ensure that health staff have access to the highest standards of TB and HIV prevention, treatment and care so they can stay healthy and continue caring for others.”