Promoting proactive partnerships for HIV prevention with factories in Central Honduras to ensure rights and services for young migrant workers
L.G. van Vuuren1, R.D. Romero2
1Medical Teams International, Portland, United States, 2Proyecto Aldea Global, Juventud Con Vision, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Issues: Higher HIV prevalence in the southern region of North central Honduras fueled by a concentration of factories attracting young workers. Low awareness, stigma and denial feed prevention inaction and results in poor uptake of testing and prevention services. Young workers are away from homes and villages, living in hostels. Factory owners are reluctant to admit to or address the problem due to lack of understanding of HIV transmission and fear of client reaction.
Through determination, patience and a relational professional approach, Juventud con Vision (JVC) staff has won the trust and confidence of local factory owners and management, forging a proactive partnership to reduce new HIV infections in at-risk youth working in their factories. The program includes working at all levels with factory owners, managers, and workers, and collaborates with MOH and NGO service providers to provide confidential testing services and promote social justice and the legal rights of PLWHA. The program has increased availability and uptake of prevention and testing services and promotes fairness and transparency between HIV positive or at risk workers and their employers. Factories have used JCV curricula for HIV education and have incorporated HIV training and prevention and treatment services for employees into their operational plan.
Lessons learned: Reduce negative attitudes of employers through understanding their concerns and building trust. Engage business leaders and convince factory owners of the financial benefits of testing and prevention programs. Build momentum to include the majority of factory owners in the area and their workers to promote solidarity, reduce stigma and prevent negative repercussions in the retail markets. Address other issues such as low self-esteem alcoholism, drug addiction, and domestic violence among factory employees.
Next steps: Document model to replicate to other factories, expand program to other regions with similar needs, demographics and risk factors.
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