India has policy to address workplace stigma against AIDS

October 30th, 2009 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The Indian government Friday came out with a national policy on HIV and AIDS at the workplace to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people afflicted with the disease and provide them support and care.
Announcing the policy, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said: “HIV and AIDS are a major threat to the world of work and have shown maximum impact on the most productive segment of the labour force.”

“The policy will help to generate awareness about HIV and AIDS, encourage action to prevent its spread and further improve and develop the support and care initiatives at the workplace,” Kharge said while releasing the policy document - National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work - at the 43rd session of the standing labour committee here.

The policy aims at preventing transmission of HIV infection among workers and their families, protect the rights of those who are infected and provide access to available care and support and treatment facilities.

It also deals with issues relating to stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS by assuring the infected equality and dignity at the workplace and ensuring safe migration and mobility with access to information services on the disease.

Kharge said the policy was formulated after many discussions with the ILO (International Labour Organization), NACO (National Aids Control Organization), an apex body that makes policies and implements programmes for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS, and NGOs.

Speaking on the occasion, Kharge said HIV and AIDS have “emerged as a major workplace issue requiring urgent attention from all stakeholders”.

Approximately 5.2 million people in South Africa and 2.6 million in Nigeria suffer from HIV, followed by 2.3 million in India.

According to the World Health Organisation, HIV and AIDS are the world’s leading infectious killers claiming to date more than 25 million lives.

The WHO says that an estimated two million people die every year from HIV and AIDS and most of these deaths are in the productive age.

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