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Fiji Time: 6:12 AM on Tuesday 23 September

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Respect HIV status

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HAVING a workmate who is HIV positive should not have an effect on the day-to-day running of a workplace.

International Labour Organisation Pacific Islands Workplaces Combating HIV and AIDS project manager, Surkafa Katafono said the issue of having a HIV workmate should not be considered a problem for any employee or employer.

"The presence of a HIV person in the workplace is not a work hazard," she said.

Ms Katafono was in Lautoka this week to co-ordinate a workshop for the Fiji Corrections Service on HIV workplace policies and Occupational Health and Safety.

She told 13 inmates and prison officers from the Ba and Lautoka Corrections centres, the program was an initiative by the Ministry of Labour, ILO and Red Cross Fiji. She said the program empowered participants through their awareness of HIV workplace policies.

She said although a HIV positive colleague should not be discriminated against, there were ways to implement policies to ensure the disease was not transmitted.

According to the ILO, the Code of Practice was adopted in 2001 and then it was further supported by the Recommendation 200 that provided guidance for countries, employers and work organisations.

The guidelines ensure the working environment is safe and healthy in order to prevent HIV transmission.

Chief guest Dr Lavenia Gonevinaka said the Lautoka Health Centre recorded 13 HIV positive cases in 2012. "HIV is present in our towns, cities and workplaces and it is something that we should keep addressing through awareness and education."


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