XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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HIV in the workplace: a model for scaling up

P. Montenegro

CARE, UNIVIDA, Quito, Ecuador

Issues: During a study of the Private Sector (PS) in Ecuador, high-levels of discrimination towards HIV positive people were found, as well as misconceptions about transmission in the workplace. Business leaders felt that positive people were a threat to the health of their employees.
Description: A number advocacy and training sessions were held with 470 representatives of different business & trade union directors and associations of banana, cocoa exporters, banks & private clinics in order to understand the PS agenda in addressing HIV. Working in collaboration with UNDP, CARE was able to assess the dynamics of the corporate sector, its practices, their HIV-related needs, prejudices about civil society, and finally develop recommendations for designing an HIV approach for the PS.
Lessons learned: Working in collaboration with executive level managers of companies and creating an intervention strategy with them guaranteed that goals were achieved. Engagement with trade associations helped ensure their involvement of key actors, and in turn active participation of member companies. Handing out a ready-to-use “kit” of educational materials to participating companies allowed them to implement activities easily. The level and caliber of the actors involved, guaranteed staff commitment, sensitization of key figures within participating companies, and replication of the process at all levels of the companies. The focus on human rights helped all involved in decision making and appreciate the importance of working on HIV.
Next steps: Facilitate working relationships amongst the PS and the Ministries of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Labor (MoL) in meeting social responsibility goals rather than an antagonistic and distrustful relationship. Additionally, the MoH and the PS can collaborate to strengthen the health systems for local communities; including engaging the PS to hold the MoH accountable for health services for its employees.


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