Advocate

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Kingston, Jamaica
Advocate

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Revisit HIV/AIDS Policy


Dear Mr Prime Minister,
This is an urgent call for you to support the inclusion of health status under the non-discrimination clause in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom bill currently under review. The need to make provisions for the prevention of HIV and AIDS-based discrimination and to protect the human rights and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and other related matters in Jamaica should be a national priority.
Discriminatory practices in workplaces and schools include mandatory testing as part of admission, enrolment and recruitment requirements; barring, or blacklisting HIV-positive applicants, or relieving employees of their duties when their HIV status discovered. The reality is that many cases go unreported and unchallenged daily. Such unfair treatment of persons on the basis of their HIV status continues not only in Jamaica workplaces but also in the health sector. This is discriminatory.
Abolish mandatory testing
If the Government is serious about protecting the basic human rights of all Jamaicans and is keen to create an enabling an environment free of stigma and discrimination, then it must support the termination of workplace and school health policies which discriminate against persons living with HIV/AIDS.
It should abolish mandatory HIV testing for employment; remove punitive laws, policies and programmes that foster stigma and discrimination and block effective responses to HIV.

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