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After serious HIV data breach, businesses promise to end HIV discrimination

After serious HIV data breach, businesses promise to end HIV discrimination

Google headquarters in California

Eighty businesses in Singapore have made a pledge to end workplace discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Major LGBTI organizations in Singapore including Action for AIDS (AFA) and support group, Oogachaga, collaborated with social enterprise, Be Inclusive, to end HIV discrimination in the workplace.

Global multinationals such as Google and Barclays are some of the signatories to the pledge alongside local companies such as restaurant booking platform, Chope.

AFA’s advocacy manager Avin Tan said that workplaces play a crucial role in ending discrimination against individuals with HIV.

‘The challenge of being gainfully employed without the fear of being sacked because of one’s HIV infection must be addressed if we want to effectively control HIV in Singapore,’ AFA’s advocacy manager, Avin Tan told Today Online.

‘The challenge of being gainfully employed without the fear of being sacked because of one’s HIV infection must be addressed if we want to effectively control HIV in Singapore.

‘It is good public health practice to have someone whose HIV status is known and successfully treated, than someone who is undiagnosed, unaware, frightened and potentially infectious.’

In late January it was revealed the personal data of more than 14,000 PLHIV in Singapore had been leaked online. This lead to fear that people could lose their jobs and be outed to their families.

According to data from Avert, a global HIV educator, more than 50% of people worldwide have discriminatory attitudes to PLHIV. Avert said HIV stigma can lead to people being shunned by family, peers and the wider community. Others could face poor treatment in educational and work settings, erosion of their rights, and psychological damage. These all limit access to HIV testing, treatment and other HIV services.

The Pledge:

The 80 businesses in Singapore have pledged:

  • HIV status alone is not grounds for a person’s dismissal from employment;
  • Support will be provided to any employee who suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their HIV status
  • Education initiatives that reduce HIV stigma and discrimination in Singapore will be undertaken, such as the Guidelines for Managing HIV/AIDS in the Workplace from the Singapore National Employers Federation.
  • We empathise with the individuals who are suffering as a result of this criminal act. With the business and community sector working together, ignorance and misinformation will not be allowed to win the day.

See also

Fear and stigma: Dealing with the fallout of Singapore’s HIV data breach

Singapore Health Minister finally speaks out about HIV data breach

‘Shock, despair, and helplessness’ in Singapore after HIV data breach