Saturday, June 15, 2024

State to ban mandatory HIV tests

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LABOUR and Social Security Minister, Ronald Mukuma, has said that the Government is saddened at reports of people being denied employment because of their HIV/AIDS status and it will introduce a law to ban mandatory tests.

Mr Mukuma said yesterday that the Government was changing the Employment Act to stop employers from discriminating against prospective employees perceived to be HIV positive.

“Government wants a just and fair labour market where no employee or prospective employee is discriminated against on account of real or perceived HIV/AIDS positive status in relation to recruitment, remuneration, promotion, performance, job classification transfer or training,” he said.

The minister said yesterday when he launched the York Farm HIV/AIDS work-place policy that the law would ensure that employers did not ask the HIV status of their prospective employees.

He said the proposed legislation was intended to ensure that all employers did not tolerate the practice, adding that such discriminatory behaviour should be fought whenever it showed its ugly face.

“No employer shall require, whether directly or indirectly any person to undergo any form of testing for HIV/AIDS as a precondition for employment or for continuity of employment,” he said.

He said it was good that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was engaged as lead partner in formulating the York Farm policy because HIV/AIDS brought together the Government, employers and the workers.

He said the York Farm policy was commendable and should be emulated by other companies because the Government wanted to have a healthy productive workforce.

York Farm managing director, Nigel Pollard, said the policy showed management’s commitment to HIV/AIDS as it explained the role each stakeholder would undertake in the cause.

Mr Poillard said the policy was encouraging prevention by changing workers’ behaviour and that the farm would work with the Government and co-operating partners in encouraging its workers to go for Voluntary Counseling and Testing.

ILO country director, Gerry Finnegan, said HIV/AIDS was a workplace issue and that his office was working with the ministry of Labour and Social Security to fight the scourge.

Mr Finnegan said that the Italian government funded the formulation of the policy and training of 104 peer educators, saying a survey conducted last year revealed that the farm needed an HIV policy.

He said the ILO ensured that the policy met international standards because it would not only serve employees but customers that dealt with the farm even at international level.

[Times of Zambia]

15 COMMENTS

  1. But those seeking higher office like presdo, MPs and others should go for mandatory tests of HIV/AIDS bcoz we are tired of these pipo seeking medicals abroad at very costly expense (Taxpayers). We, the electorate should know their status before we make up our mind to vote for them.

  2. # 1 & those standing 4 presdo,Mps shud know the status of their electrorates to determine if they have a sane mind to make informed decisions

  3. #2 Kalako silwasi naine, ulibe nzelu, these standing dont care who votes for them wether HIV/AIDS or not, all they need is a vote.

  4. It should be mandatory for presdo and Mps cause their depature leads to by-elections which cost money.And I think it should be mandatory when seeking for a job as one way if creating job opportunities for those who will perform and contribute to the well being of the firm and the nation at large,I know this my hate cause truth hates.

  5. HIV testing should be a personal thing and decision. Employer must not even know your HIV status for them to employ you. Its so suddening that people are denied jobs on grounds of the HIV status. I actually wonder why some people are spearheading the HIV testing programme. We have all these organisations, some from Europe and the West funding such activities, when they are not even doing that in their own countries. These are just stupid experiments being conducted in Zambia. Please wake up and ban the mandatory HIV testing its not helping anyone at all.

  6. #6 martin; good point. as for all the *****s supporting mandatory tests, i can only say that they themselves are hiv+ cos its always the guilty ones who cant accept their status that encourage such. Accept and move on cos we are all God’s children and are gonna face our CREATOR one day, regardless.

  7. #9 very good, although it can be recommended, employers should not base their decision on whether to employ or not because of your status rather they can use that infomation to prepare a medical scheme for the employee, but again this raises the cost of employment. Also the downtime when the employee is not well adds to additional losses, come to think about it maybe mandatory testing is a good idea!

  8. This issue of HIV/AIDS concerns all of us wheather infected or not.As to weather there should be discrimination of HIV positiuve people, I personally think that is worse than apatheid. There is no gurrantee of a longer life for an HIV negative person compared to an HIV positive one. For instance why has the disease not ended naturally? The reason is in some cases people with HIV stay long lifes just like those who are not infected.Hence the continous infection processing in the population.Bravo Minister Mukoma, no need to discriminate.

  9. #10 maybe so ,but look at other countries ravaged by hiv/aids,eg Botstwana, and Namibia. Oh and let us not forget Uganda, these countries’ economies continued to prosper because they had and still have proper health schemes in place. Mandatory testing is not the answer. we need to continue to educate people about this illness. like it or not people will have sex and hiv is not a choice. In the 70s and 80s we had a situation whereby headache,stomachache etc were all treated the same; injections. there were no pills and i believe that fuelled the spread of hiv. It was one injection-10 people. there was no way out and unfortunately poverty in the nineties just made things worse.

  10. We need to help those that need help and not isolate them. in doing so ,we will only be creating more problems and worsen the situation our country is in.in the meantime people please practice safe sex!

  11. Good thinking minister & #11, as for you #13 remember that there are MANY modes of transmission apart from unprotected sex,imagine a medical personalle or community volunteer who acquired the virus in the process of trying to help in a surgical procedure,caring or delivery, is denied work in a company, ZAF or ARMY coz of their status it’s really sad, Being HIV positive doesn’t mean you have AIDS, depending on the way you lead your life you can live with the VIRUS for more than 20 years bring development to the nation without developing AIDS. Stigma & discrimination can cause early death esp in this situation coz they usually feel useless after rejection.

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