JIS News

State Minister for Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, has said that the government will not tolerate acts of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
“We will not stand idly by and allow anyone to be dismissed from their job because of their HIV or AIDS status. The Ministry will not allow screening of persons to rule them out of a job opportunity,” he stated.
The Minister was speaking at the press launch of a programme entitled: ‘Education and economic empowerment for persons with disabilities – Responding to HIV and AIDS,’ yesterday (Dec. 3) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
He called for a serious regional campaign against HIV and AIDS, noting that the disease can have a severe and significant effect on the national and regional workforce. “If we do not launch a serious and an ongoing campaign against this, then it can have a serious economic impact, as it can cripple your workforce and significantly lower your productivity while you are in a global market place in a global competition,” he stated.
Arguing that education is one of the key ways of fighting the pandemic, Mr. Gallimore said that “a serious input must be made at the high school level before persons begin to become too (sexually) active, to engage their minds. It is not something we can hide from.”
“We cannot afford our children to grow up in ignorance as at the end of the day, ignorance might cost them their lives, so we have to get on a serious education programme,” he added.
AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst persons within the ages of 15 and 44 in the region. Adult HIV prevalence is estimated at 1 per cent in the Caribbean, which remains the second most affected region in the world after Sub-Saharan Africa.
Some 230,000 people are living with HIV and an estimated 11,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses. In addition, 17,000 people were newly infected with the HIV virus.

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