You are on page 1of 12

HIV/AIDS at workplace: Protecting yourself

World AIDS Day 01 December 2012
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper/presentation are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

Dr Jean-Jacques BERNATAS, ADB Medical Center

HIV/AIDS at workplace: protection in 7 points
• Discrimination and promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment • Prevention • Treatment and care • Support • Testing, privacy and confidentiality • Occupational safety and health • Children and young persons

Discrimination and promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment: ground foundation of protection
• As an employee:
– protecting myself from misbehavior that could discourage another employee to get support or access to prevention or treatment

• As an employer:

– “zero discrimination” on real or perceived HIV status/ recruitment, termination – to accommodate workload, workplace as much as possible – to take measures in/through the workplace to prevent HIV transmission.

Prevention: protecting myself “stricto sensu”
• As an employee:
– Access to accurate, up-to-date relevant information
– Access to education – women and men – to understand and reduce the risk of HIV transmission; access to measures to reduce high-risk behaviors, including MARP – Access to VCT – Access to all means of prevention, as well as PeP

• As an employer:
– Effective occupational safety and health measures – Offer access to information, education, means of prevention, VCT, access to PeP – Awareness –raising on high-risk behaviors, including for the most at-risk groups

– Awareness and promotion of harm reduction strategies

 Connection to public health authorities, civil society, and NGOs to get the most relevant and accurate support

Treatment and care: it is about protecting everyone
• As an employee:
– Access to appropriate health services: VCT, ART, nutrition, HIV-related illnesses including opportunistic infections and STIs. – Access to support and prevention programs for PLwH, including psychological support.

• As an employer:
– To ensure workers – and dependents – living with HIV full access to curative and preventive health care. – “Zero discrimination” based on real or perceived HIV status in access to health care and coverage of medical expenses, disability, and death and survivors’ benefits.

Supporting is protecting
• As an employee:
– Supporting in the workplace the coworkers infected or affected by HIV/AIDS; no rules, but getting the right information will help to get the right attitude … – The exemple should come from the top

• As an employer:
– Promotion of the retention in work and recruitment of persons living with HIV. – Extension of support through periods of employment and unemployment: what is the best we can do for the staff? – HIV infection as an occupational disease or accident when justified. – Reasonable accommodation in the workplace for persons living with HIV or HIV-related illnesses, with due regard to national conditions

Testing, privacy and confidentiality
• As an employee:
– To have free access to VCT without any fear about job access, job security or opportunities for advancement

• As an employer:
– To offer a free and genuinely voluntary testing, respecting every worker’s confidentiality – HIV testing or other forms of screening for HIV should not be required of workers – The results of HIV testing should be confidential and not endanger access to jobs, tenure, job security or opportunities for advancement. – Workers, including migrant workers, jobseekers and job applicants, should not be required by countries of origin, of transit or of destination to disclose HIV related information about themselves or others.

Occupational safety and health
• As an employee:
– To have access to the appropriate information about mode of transmission of HIV and its real risk in the workplace: HIV is not transmitted by casual physical contact and that the presence of a person living with HIV should not be considered a workplace hazard.

• As an employer
– To ensure a safe and healthy working environment in order to prevent transmission of HIV in the workplace:
• universal precautions, • accident and hazard prevention measures, • environmental control measures and post exposure prophylaxis and other safety measures to minimize the risk of contracting HIV and tuberculosis.

– When there is a possibility of exposure to HIV at work, workers should receive education and training on modes of transmission and measures to prevent exposure and infection

Children and young persons
• Mainly an employer’s matter and every employee’s awareness:
– To actively participate in the fight against child labour and child trafficking – To protect young workers against HIV infection, and to include the special needs of children and young persons in the response to HIV and AIDS in national policies and programs.

HIV/AIDS at workplace: a recent international standard
The first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work, was adopted by governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives from ILO member States at the International Labour Conference in June 2010.

Preventing yourself in the workplace: “Yes we can”, if everyone understands the change of paradigm about HIV/AIDS
• What is the shift of paradigm about HIV/AIDS?
– A shift from the historical notion of an “acute deadly infectious disease” to the new evidence of a “chronic (infectious) disease” – With an appropriate access to ARV and care, the life expectancy is increasing substantially. – With an appropriate access to ARV and care, an almost normal professional life is possible – To be considered with a similar impact on work attendance as diabetes, COPD, or other chronic illnesses

Appropriate access to treatment and care is to the benefit of both employers and HIV-infected workers The best way to protect your(our)self is to know your(our) HIV status

Preventing yourself in the workplace: “Yes we can”, with a relevant workplace policy and program on HIV/AIDS
• How to take into account the shift of paradigm from “acute deadly infectious disease” to “chronic (infectious) disease” at workplace?
– To make a better awareness-raising to employees and employers – To implement a participatory approach when a company and its employees decide to set up a HIV/AIDS program in the workplace – To seek for local support: public health authorities, civil society and NGOs – Companies to contribute to full access to prevention and treatment and to actively participate to reach the triple “Zero New Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS-Related Deaths” goal right away.