Eliminating Discrimination against People Living with HIV (PLHIV) at the Workplace

The main objective of this webinar, which is supported by the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund (UN COVID-19 MPTF), is to promote the elimination of discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace.


Background

Through effective public health measures, HIV is preventable much like other diseases. With thanks to scientific advances, the world is more equipped to prevent HIV infections and people living with HIV (PLHIV) are able to live a healthy and productive life by adhering to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Progress have been made since 2001 with a 54% reduction in AIDS-related deaths and a 37% reduction in HIV infections globally.1 And of the 38 million people living with HIV, 26 million were accessing ART as of June 2020, increasing their chance to live a healthy life.2

Globally, HIV/AIDS are concentrated in the most productive age group (15-49 years). This has also been the case for Indonesia, where it is estimated that there are 543.100 PLHIV and 512.956 of them are of productive age. Unemployment levels are also higher for PLHIV than non-PLHIV due to ill health and discrimination. According to a study by UNDP in 2011, unemployment rates of PLHIV compared to non-PLHIV in Indonesia by sexes were 22% and 20% respectively among males, and 16% and 11% among females.3 The government of Indonesia, through the issuance of KEP. 68/MEN/IV/2004 on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in the Workplace, emphasized that companies have an obligation to develop policies on HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the workplace, including protecting workers with HIV/AIDS from discriminatory treatment.

PLHIV experience stigma and discrimination in all spectrum of the world of work, as jobseekers and applicants, and as workers. Stigma and discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace setting may have been caused by the lack of awareness and information regarding HIV among Discrimination against PLHIV have taken the forms of, among others, denial of access to a job or occupation due to HIV status, mandatory HIV testing during recruitment process and/or as part of the annual health test package, and disclosure of HIV status without consent. These practices are against the global guideline on HIV testing services, which the government of Indonesia has adopted through the Decree of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia No. HK.01.07/MENKES/90/2019 on National Guidelines for HIV Procedures. HIV testing must be done voluntarily and uphold the 5C principles of consent, confidentiality, counselling, correct test result, and connection to treatment.

Moreover, HIV status alone should not be a ground to determine fitness or unfitness for work. With ARV treatment, PLHIV can live a healthy and productive lives just like other people. And adherence to treatment results in viral loads suppression which prevents the spread of HIV. With a huge proportion of PLHIV in productive age in Indonesia, workplace becomes an important setting for HIV prevention and comprehensive response, including the elimination of stigmatizing and discriminative practices against people living with HIV.

To that end, UNAIDS and ILO are intending to hold a webinar with the theme of “Eliminating Discrimination Against People Living with HIV (PLHIV) at the Workplace”. This webinar is supported by the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund (UN COVID-19 MPTF). A project that aims for the recovery and improvement of economy and livelihood of vulnerable groups of people who are most affected by the pandemic, including women, youth, refugees, migrant workers, people living with HIV, key populations most vulnerable to HIV and people living in disadvantaged regions.

Objectives

The main objective of this webinar is to promote the elimination of discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace. Additionally, this event is also aiming at the following things:
  1. Creating a discussion platform to share experience, knowledge, and ideas related to the efforts to eliminate discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace.
  2. Increasing support from relevant stakeholders for the elimination of discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace, and promote the creation of an inclusive job market.
  3. Strengthening cross-sector collaboration related to the efforts to eliminate discrimination against PLHIV at the workplace.