The CTU Out@Work Council is asking the Government to support a statement recognising the importance of work in the fight against HIV/Aids, at a high level UN meeting that is taking place in New York now.
“It has been 30 years since the first case of AIDS was identified and HIV/AIDS is still having a devastating social and economic impact on many countries. This disease affects everyone, women and men, young people, rural and urban communities – the working people of these countries. It is paramount that the role of labour is part of any strategic planning going forward,” says Out@Work Council co-convenor Karena Brown.
Brown says that with changes in drug therapy and treatment, people with HIV are able to continue working but that hasn’t reduced the discrimination they face. “There is evidence that about half will suffer loss of employment or experience workplace discrimination.”
“There are good reasons for the Government to take action on this issue,” says Out@Work Council co-convenor, Jo Wrigley, “enabling people to stay in the workforce is good for everybody and not only that, New Zealand has an obligation to be a good international citizen and to support actions that are being taken at the international level to reduce the rate of HIV and AIDS.”
We have obligations to think and respond internationally and the responsible Government ministers must take a stand on this basic human rights, health and employment issue. It is vital that the New Zealand Government formally recognises the role of the world of work in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.