Bias against AIDS patients down at workplaces: ILO

Kathmandu, May 27:

There has been a reduction in the level of discrimination in employment against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Nepal during the past few years, said a survey report conducted by International Labour Organisation.

The survey was conducted to find the impact of the International HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme that was launched in Nepal in 2005.

The report — Nepal HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme — released today compared the level of awareness among the people about HIV/AIDS in 2005, before the programme was implemented, and now. The project reached 6,634 workers of ten enterprises in seven districts to collect the data on workers’ knowledge, existing policies and availability of HIV services in their workplaces.

The report states that there is a reduced HIV/AIDS risk behaviour among the targeted workers. Likewise, the perception of dismissal of an HIV-positive employee who is physically fit has gone down to 4.2 per cent from 18 per cent in 2005, it said.

A total of 82 per cent respondents believed that employer would not dismiss a physically fit HIV-positive employee. Likewise, 81 per cent were aware of the existence of HIV/AIDS services in their workplace compared to seven per cent in 2005.

All the workplaces were found to be committed to follow the principles set out in the Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS, it states. The enterprises developed some policy principles and support measures regarding the HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, reduction of stigma and discrimination, and care and support for PLWHA.

Archana Singh, ILO representative, said all the workplaces and employers surveyed had different types of services related to HIV/AIDS. The services available at workplaces included education programmes; condom availability and STI treatment services.