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Pre-appointment HIV-testing no longer requirement to work for St. Maarten government


PHILIPSBURG–Persons entering the civil service will no longer be required to have pre-appointment HIV testing. This came into effect on August 1, and is part of the National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy, which was finalised in 2012. Government is now calling on the private sector to follow suit. “This is a huge milestone in preventing discrimination and ensuring equality in the workplace. Government would now like to call on the rest of the community to follow suit and begin adhering to the national policy, as a person’s HIV status has no bearing on his/her ability to perform most job functions. Let’s work together to build a more equal workforce where no one is prevented from entering the labour market,” it was stated in a press release issued by the Cabinet of Health and Labour Minister Cornelius de Weever.

The Department of Labour, in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team, fi nalised a National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy in 2012. The document came to fruition with the assistance of international organisations of the United Nations, both in labour and health, in addition to representatives of local private and public sector organisations and governmental departments. This national policy was approved by the Council of Ministers and launched in December 2012. This policy aims to provide a set of guidelines to be adhered to by all employers and workers o f St. Maarten, both public and private, to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic in and through the workplace.

Government decided to lead by example and not to expect the private sector to adhere to the national policy without fi rst ensuring that the government organisation was also in line with policy guidelines, it was stated in the release. For this reason, the Personnel and Organisation Department’s assistance was sought. They, together with Social and Health Insurance SZV, have made it possible to do away with the pre-appointment for HIV testing before entering the organisation.

A copy of The National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy can be obtained from the Labour Affairs Agency, the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team and the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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