Stigma over HIV still rife despite changes to law

The majority of workers living with HIV still feel unable to tell their employer about their condition, despite increased legal protection, the National Aids Trust (NAT) has warned.

A 2005 revision to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) extended protection to employees living with HIV from when they are first diagnosed.

“However, a survey of 760 gay men, carried out by Professor Jonathan Elford at City University, found that more than two-thirds of white and 84% of non-white gay men living with HIV did not feel able to tell their employers about their condition.”

Employers are still uncertain about what their obligations are to HIV-positive employees, according to Deborah Jack, chief executive of the NAT.

“At present, the workplace can be a very difficult environment for people living with HIV, as unfortunately discrimination and harassment are still very real concerns for many,” she said.

The NAT has launched a guide for employers on recruiting HIV-positive employees. “By putting practices in place to avoid discrimination in recruitment, employers can encourage applications from people living with HIV and benefit from the skills of these individuals,” Jack added.

Separate research by the British Dyslexia Association revealed that dyslexics are hiding their condition in the workplace for fear that it will alter the way they are seen at work. Almost half said they had not told their employers about their condition with one in four believing that being open about the condition would affect the way that they were perceived.

Last week, the Down’s Syndrome Association launched a campaign asking employers to recruit more people with Downs.

Comments are closed.