01 / 12 / 2015 9am
The United Nations (UN) World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and provides an opportunity for people worldwide to support people living with HIV and commemorate those that have died.
The global health day, which has been running since 1988, focuses on issues surrounding HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
Latest estimates show there are more than 107,000 people living with HIV in the UK, mostly of working age, with 25 per cent unaware of their status. HIV weakens the body’s immune system and if untreated can progress to AIDS.
The Equality Act 2010 deems all people with HIV to be disabled. Although most who live with HIV in the UK have normal life expectancy and lead fulfilling working lives, a large number of people are ignorant of the facts. This means people living with HIV can face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.
Information and resources
- The Trades Union Congress' guide Tackling HIV discrimination at work deals with issues that might arise, including why employers need a policy on HIV, and the health and safety procedures that can minimise the risk of accidental exposure.
- HIV remains a highly stigmatised condition and people living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. The Equality Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a person due to their HIV status.
- People with HIV are protected from unfavourable treatment at all stages of the employments process, including recruitment. The Terrence Higgins Trusts and Health for Work both provide useful guidance on what this means for staff and the workplace.
- The National Aids Trust's (NAT) campaign encourages people to think positively about HIV. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #rethinkHIV
- South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has developed a useful Sexual Health toolkit to help deliver activities in the workplace that raise awareness.
- Similarly Sahir House has put together HIV knowledge is power - an information pack to help organisations mark World AIDS Day within their workplace.
- Confidentiality around HIV and AIDS is particularly important in the workplace and healthcare settings. This can help staff understand their rights and how to take action if they feel confidentiality has been breached.
- Some of the following events have been arranged by NHS organisations.