JIS News

Managers of public sector agencies and departments confirmed support for the Government’s workplace policy for HIV/AIDS, by signing a Leadership Advocacy Commitment document at Jamaica House in Kingston to mark World AIDS Day on Tuesday (December 1).
The event, held under the theme: “Yes I Can Support a PLWHIV (Person Living with HIV/AIDS)”, was organised by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Faith Innerarity, the activity constituted one cluster pursuing development of workplace policies on HIV/AIDS.
She pointed out that the policy forms part of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) “framework for decent work”. She added that the managers’ input was geared towards garnering support for projects aimed at the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
“The ILO has developed a code in respect of how we address HIV/AIDS as a workplace principle, and there are 10 elements in respect of the code,” he stated.
The elements include: recognition of HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue; principle of non-discrimination; gender equality; creating a healthy work environment; social dialogue; the exclusion of screening for HIV/AIDS as a condition for employment; confidentiality; continuity of the employment relationship; prevention, care and support.
Mrs. Innerarity said that approximately one per cent of the Caribbean’s adult population is affected by HIV/AIDS, ranking only second to sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica has increased since the first case was detected in 1982, and currently stands at 27,000, she said, noting that this pales in significance to Haiti’s which is the worst affected in the region.
Despite, this, however, she said that Jamaica’s figure is still a major cause for concern, within the context of the workforce. However, she noted that Jamaica has embraced the ILO’s principles.
“We have ratified the core ILO principles, in relation to rights at work, and we have also embraced the ILO concept of decent work, which deals with matters such as equality, social security, coverage, and safety at the workplace,” Mrs. Innerarity said.

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