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World Aids Day: AU Commission launches workplace policy on HIV/AIDS

World Aids Day: AU Commission launches workplace policy on HIV/AIDS

Addis Ababa, 14 November 2011 – As part of the activities marking the 2011 World Aids Day to be observed on 1st December, the Medical Services Directorate of the African Union Commission (AUC) will on 2ndDecember 2011, launch the AU Commission HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy. The launching ceremony will take place at the AU headquarters inAddis Ababa,Ethiopia in the presence of all AU staff.

The policy which is comprised in a booklet, has been developed in light of the commitments expressed by the Heads of State and Government in the 2001 Abuja Declaration on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases (ORID), in which they declared AIDS “a State of Emergency in the Continent”, and other commitments made at the United Nations UNGASS, 2001, and through the Declaration on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa (Ouagadougou, 2004), High-level Meeting 2006, by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

The AUC workplace policy on HIV and AIDS has the following objectives:

  • To protect the human rights of personnel who are living with or affected by HIV andAIDS, especially in terms of continuation of the employment relationship, to protect pension insurance and other benefits, and to eliminate denial, stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV status.
  • To ensure that HIV and AIDS is dealt with as a workplace issue, and treated like any other serious illness/condition in the workplace, in the context of occupational safety and health.
  • To ensure consistency in managing HIV and AIDS within the AUC workplace (e.g. departments, duty stations, places of assignment), including defining rights and responsibilities of the Commission, its management and its personnel.
  • To reduce the risk of HIV infection for personnel and their dependants.
  • To mitigate the socio-economic and individual impact of HIV and AIDS on the AUC, its personnel and their dependants, and the community.
  • To reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality through appropriate and up-to-date treatment, including the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and care and support for personnel and their dependants.
  • To provide the foundation for a comprehensive HIV and AIDS workplace programme including prevention, care and treatment.

The policy documents is based on fundamental principles of human rights and workers’ rights, as well as the key principles of the ILO Code of practice on HIV and AIDS and the world of work, adopted in 2001. It follows international and regional standards, medical and occupational health principles, sound scientific information and a humane attitude towards all employees and their dependants. The development of this policy is in line with the African Union Commission HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2005- 2007.

The policy rests on the principle that HIV and AIDS should be treated like any other serious condition or illness. It takes into account that people living with HIV and AIDS can live full and active life provided they have access to treatment and care when they need them. The AUC is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for all personnel, recognizing that HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. The AUC will not practice or tolerate any form of discrimination against employees or job applicants on any grounds, including those related to HIV and AIDS.

Worth recalling that, the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is: “Getting to Zero”.

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