A person’s HIV status not condition for employment – Dr Addo

Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo

Employers have been caution against using the HIV and AIDS status of prospective employees as a prerequisite for employment as the act is an affront to Ghana’s Health Laws, and the Workplace HIV/TB policy.

Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme giving the caution in Tema stressed that the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and the Ghana AIDS Commission Act state clearly that no one should be denied employment because of their status.

Dr Ayisi Addo who was speaking at the fifth Ghana News Agency-Tema Regional Office’s stakeholder engagement and workers’ appreciation day seminar noted that management of organisations should not even move to the situation of mandatorily demanding for such screening and subsequently using it as a condition.

He was speaking on the topic, “workplace policy on HIV, AIDS, who enforces it: the legal basis for churches demanding HIV/AIDS test from would-be partners? Role of partners of infected individual”.

The GNA-Tema stakeholder engagement is a media caucus platform created to give the opportunity to both state and non-state stakeholders to interact with journalists and address national issues while deepening the working relations with the stakeholders to ensure that both the media and the corporate world work together towards national development.

He emphasised that “we should not impose screening of HIV on anybody as a condition for employment even though as a Programme we are interested in many people knowing their status, but not as a condition for certain important things in life like employment, and marriage”.

He disclosed that the programme was engaging with the military to review its policy of mandatory testing for recruitment, saying that, “they do it mandatory because they need people of a certain performance rate to be able to thrive effectively in a strong stressful environment, so it is because of that purposes”.

Dr Ayisi Addo noted that one of the reasons why management could know a person’s status was for the placement of the person at a position that would not affect his or her immunity, but not to discriminate against that person.

He said, “help the person with medical care, change his work schedule but not to lay them off because they tested positive”.

HIV, he said was a workplace issue as it affected people who come to work and one could contract it there, therefore the need for every organization to come out with HIV Workplace Policy on how to better manage positive employees without it affecting their outputs.

“A workplace is a place for interaction, social intercourse and in the process, there can physical contact and therefore communicable diseases, like COVID-19 and HIV can occur, HIV is created in the workplace and it must therefore be managed in the workplace,” he said.

He indicated that issues surrounding HIV and TB must be handled with non-discrimination, saying stigma and discrimination were big barriers in HIV prevention.

Dr Ayisi Addo explained that stigmatization was tagging something or somebody that leads to people responding to it negatively “so the moment I tag something and people start shying away, I have stigmatized the person and we do that sometimes carelessly”.

Other speakers: Mr Fred Asiedu-Dartey, GSA Head of Freight and Logistics who spoke on: “Emerging trends in Ghana’s maritime industry – the perspective of the Ghana Shippers Authority”.

Mr Timothy Anyidoho, Senior Staff, Lands Commission and Mr George Okwabi Frimpong, a senior member of the Licensed Surveyors Association of Ghana jointly spoke on: “the authority in charge of the management of stool or skin, clan or family lands; the role of Customary Land Secretariat; Systems of recording and registering land and interests in land; What is electronic conveyancing; and Procedures under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 201”.

Source: GNA

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