If the work situation is black for the majority of Spaniards, let alone for those affected by HIV. Next, we reproduce the joint communiqué of the Observatory of Human Rights and HIV / AIDS of RED2002 and of the Federation Working in Positive for the World Day Against AIDS.

On World Day for the Fight against AIDS, on December 1, there is little to celebrate in the workplace: people with HIV are still at a disadvantage compared to the general population due to discrimination and ignorance and face a level of unemployment that triples that of Spanish society as a whole, report the Observatory of Human Rights and HIV / AIDS of RED2002 and the Federation Working in Positive.

"Three decades after the discovery of this virus, medical advances have been evident and have contributed to an increase in the life expectancy of people with HIV. However, what has not been achieved, despite the efforts made, is to eliminate the rejection and social stigma that exists towards this disease and towards the people who suffer it, "says the coordinator of the Federation Trabajando en Positivo, Julio Gomez

"Discrimination is one of the fundamental reasons that sustain this labor inequality, which limits the possibilities of social integration of people living with HIV," says the head of the Observatory on Human Rights and HIV / AIDS of RED2002. Joan Bertran de Bes.

However, the difficulties for this group do not only appear at the time of accessing a job but they continue when it comes to maintaining it. In this way, marginalization by their co-workers, dismissals without real foundations, unjustified changes of functions, lack of adaptation of the job, pressures to be tested for HIV or the realization of it without knowledge , lack of confidentiality and violation of the right to privacy, are just some of the situations faced by workers with HIV in their day to day work.

The data confirm that the situation does not improve

Discrimination in the field of work continues to be the main source of consultation for the Free Legal Counsel of the Observatory of Human Rights and HIV: in 2007, 30% of the cases of discrimination attended were for issues related to employment, in 2008 it was 31 %, in 2009 32%, and so far in 2010 it remains around a third of the consultations.

Most situations of discrimination depend exclusively on individual attitudes because of social prejudices and stereotypes. Proof of this is the "Report on Beliefs and Attitudes of the Spanish population about HIV" (2009) of the Foundation for Research and Prevention of AIDS in Spain (FIPSE), which shows that 30% of the population would feel uncomfortable If I had to work in an office with a person with HIV.

This rejection leads the worker with HIV to hide their condition, something that for most of them supposes pressure and psychological stress that does not favor their physical process (including their work performance) and that can even put their own health at risk. This tendency to concealment was captured in a virtual survey conducted by the association gTt (Working Group on HIV Treatments) in 2010, which revealed that 73% of the 2,070 participants "would never say in their work that they are living with HIV" and only 9% "had said it openly".

Recommendations to the Administration, companies and unions

For all these reasons, the Federation Working in Positive and the Observatory on Human Rights and HIV / AIDS of RED2002 state that the answers to this situation must go through:

  • The reinforcement from the public administrations of the work that is carried out by the NGOs linked to the fight against AIDS in the Spanish state - individually or through platforms such as the Federation Working in Positive or the Observatory.
  • The involvement of trade unions in training and awareness about HIV for union leaders and workers.
  • The involvement of companies, as social agents that are and with the conditions they have to change society, favoring the labor integration of people with HIV through actions such as:
    • The integration within its contracting policy of compliance with reservation fees for people with disabilities, either directly or indirectly through the purchase and sale of services to special employment centers and other protected employment systems developed by the entities themselves. AIDS; the hiring of disabled people in a self-employed regime and / or the hiring of employment enclaves.
    • The review of the protocols established for the selection of personnel and for the prevention of occupational risks in order to eliminate those practices that may lead to situations of stigma and discrimination towards people with HIV.
    • Carrying out information and awareness actions on HIV within the company.
    • Technical and / or economic collaboration with NGOs to fight AIDS.

This joint statement has the adhesion of UGT Madrid and the Associació

Catalana d'Empreses per a Gais i Lesbianes ACEGAL.

SOURCE: RED 2002 and WORK IN POSITIVE

CDC’s HIV Treatment Works: Jamie’s Story (November 2019).