FORUM "IMPLICATIONS OF HIV IN THE WORKPLACE"
IN CONJUNCTION WITH WORLD AIDS DAY 2019
World AIDS Day is designated on 1st December every year that brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world.
Today, 2nd December 2019, in conjunction with the World AIDS Day 2019, a forum entitled "Implications of HIV In The Workplace" organised by the Health Promotion Centre & Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health and the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council at the Dewan Al-'Afiah, Ministry of Health, Bandar Seri Begawan. Present as the Guest of Honour at the opening of the forum was Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doktor Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister of Health Brunei Darussalam. Also present at this event was Awang Mohd Hazrin Bin Daud, Deputy President of Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council.
HIV and AIDS is an important labour-related issue because of their implications for workers' health productivity; as it affects the workplace in a variety of ways. Employees and job applicants living with HIV and AIDS may experience HIV-related stigma from their colleagues and most especially from their employers.
Examples of HIV and AIDS-related stigma are People Living with HIV (PLHIV) being prohibited from travelling, using public and healthcare facilities and even seeking employment. In the workplace, People Living with HIV (PLHIV) may suffer stigma from their co-workers and employers, such as social isolation and ridicule, or experience discriminatory practices, such as termination or refusal of employment.
The forum aims to reduce stigmatisation of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who are productive workforces by:
- Sharing the latest information related to HIV in Brunei Darussalam;
- Sharing information and best practices on HIV policies and programmes in workplaces; and
- Networking with stakeholders on HIV and AIDS work and awareness in Brunei Darussalam.
Moderating the World AIDS Day forum was Siti Hajar Mahathir, External Communication & Media Relations Officer, TelBru and the panelists for the forum were Dr. Justin Wong, Head Disease Control Division, Department of Environmental Health Services; Dr Alice Lai, Head Occupational Health Division, Department of Environmental Health Services; Awang Rozan Justin Teo bin Hj Azlan, Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Department of Labour; and Dr. Hjh Rosmonaliza bin Hj Awg Asli, Head Infectious Disease Unit, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital.
By reducing stigma in the workplace (via HIV and AIDS education, offering HIV testing), employees are less likely to take days off work, and be more productive in their jobs. This ensures People Living with HIV (PLHIV) are able to continue working especially in Brunei Darussalam. Hence, addressing stigma and discrimination either as an issue in its own right or as a critical component of HIV and AIDS programme can be one of the efforts to stem the epidemic. In addition, awareness and behavioural intentions of employers to PLHIV is useful as baseline information for designing and implementing educational programmes for making workplaces more conducive for PLHIV.
About 200 participants attended the forum, comprising of managerial and supervisory personnel from public and private sectors; undergraduate students in health and/or business and management and NGO representatives from the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council.
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Date: 5 Rabiualakhir 1441 / 2 December 2019