From 1988 to 2010 [year of the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS and the world of work (number 200)], the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) insisted on the importance of the workplace in the prevention, treatment and care related to HIV, as well as on the impact of stigmatization and job loss on the vulnerability of people with HIV.
Both organizations also defend that a person should not be excluded from any occupation just because he or she has HIV.
1. People with HIV are people in full productive age (of the 3,353 new cases in Spain during 2016, 96% were of working age).
2. People with HIV are increasingly asymptomatic and with no health deterioration (From 29% in 2000 to 50% in 2016 in Spain 2016).
3. Sharing working space with a person with HIV does not pose a risk of transmission.
Under these premises, the ILO recommends not asking to current or potential workers any information related to HIV, and avoid HIV testing during occupational medical examination. ILO also defends that the worker has no obligation to communicate his or her HIV condition on the job.
“HIV does not directly imply a disability or a decrease in work ability.”
Companies should treat people with HIV like any other worker. There is no justification for contract modification, change of functions, unequal opportunities for promotion or dismissal because of having HIV.
In 2014, in order to foster the commitment of companies with people living with HIV, “Trabajando en Positivo” launched in Spain the Initiative “Empresas responsables con el VIH y el SIDA” (HIV and AIDS responsible companies). This initiative is open to all type of organizations and at no cost for them. For the moment, 22 companies are already involved coming from different sectors, size and geographic location.
– Promote the inclusion of non-discrimination of people with HIV in codes of ethic, policies or other relevant documents at company level.
– Promote HIV/AIDS prevention and human rights promotion for workers, their families and the community through workshops, internal communication and information and awareness raising campaigns.
– Boost employability of people with HIV and facilitate their access to the labor market through a free and tailored technical advice and assistance for companies.
“Trabajando en positivo” is a network of 16 organizations from ten Spanish autonomous communities which works to give a national answer to HIV in Spain. More information about this initiative firstname.lastname@example.org @TrabenPositivo