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Minister of State for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, says that workplaces must provide support for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

“Persons who have HIV, it is no different from a person with …any other sickness. The only thing that person needs, is more support from people around them. As a member of staff, as a manager, as a friend, it is important that you play your role,” Mr. Crawford said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the launch of a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS today (Nov. 30), at the Grand Palladium Hotel and Resorts in Hanover.

The launch was held as part of activities to mark World AIDS Day 2012. The policy addresses non-discrimination; the recognition of HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue; gender equality; healthy work environment; social dialogue; confidentiality; continuation of employment; prevention; and care and support.

Endorsing the initiative, Director of Human Resource at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Coleen Rickets-Evans, congratulated the hotel “for seeing the importance of putting such a policy in place.”

She noted that HIV is a major threat to the global workforce, and the policy sets out guidelines, which will ensure that infected persons are treated fairly, and that production is maintained.

The policy has also received support from the hotel’s staff association, with President, Leroy Peart, stating that it touches “all major issues.”

“I am comfortable that the staff will be well guided by a document well put together. Employers, who are affected or infected, need to be comfortable in their workplace environment, and treated like any other person. Employees as well, whether they are affected or infected need to know that they can enjoy their employment in a comfortable environment, which embraces them as human beings,” Mr. Peart said.

Meanwhile, Director of Human Resource at the Hotel, Radcliffe Robertson, said that the policy is about reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination “through continuous education, training and greater involvement of persons living with HIV.”