HIV: No more discrimination against infected people

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HIV: No more discrimination against infected people

Although HIV-infected people can work in all professions thanks to medical advances without a reduction in performance, those affected are still discriminated because of ignorance but also because of false prejudices. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the State Commission for AIDS has now issued a recommendation to put an end to discrimination.

HIV-infected people can work without restricted performance Thanks to medical progress, HIV-infected people can actually work in all professions today thanks to medical progress. This was pointed out by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministers of Health, Barbara Steffens (Greens) and for Work, Guntram Schneider (SPD). There is also no risk of infection if the general occupational safety and hygiene measures are observed. Even in the health sector, working with HIV or AIDS is therefore possible. As the two politicians criticized, many of those affected would still be excluded from the world of work out of ignorance.

Appeal to companies to stop discrimination A state government advisory body, the State Commission for AIDS, has now issued recommendations on how to deal with people with HIV / AIDS in the world of work, which the two politicians together with the Chairman of the State Commission, Dr. Dieter Mitrenga, were presented in Düsseldorf on Thursday. The health minister appealed to all companies to end discrimination against HIV-infected people. Around 18,000 people with HIV live in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). About two thirds of them are employed, but many others are still far from having an equal share in working life. An information offensive is intended to help reduce fears and prejudices. In addition to companies, works councils, unions, job centers and training institutions, health insurance companies are also to be won as partners. The recommendations of the state commission are already supported by ThyssenKrupp AG. As their director of labor Oliver Burkhard said, the company wanted to help illuminate the subject, which is still taboo.

Mobilize potential instead of isolating and stamping it. Both HR managers and employees still have misconceptions about the risk of infection and the resilience of people infected with HIV, and therefore shy away from employment. Minister of Labor Schneider also refers to another point, the shortage of skilled workers: "In their own interest - also against the background of the shortage of skilled workers - companies have to find a new, open way of dealing with the chronically ill and, accordingly, with HIV-infected people. Companies have to identify, mobilize and retain all existing potential instead of excluding or stamping people. This is in the interests of the companies and the interests of the sick: Participation in professional life and the fact that you yourself make a living have a positive effect on the quality of life and the course of the disease for those affected. "

Aid for those affected like Dr. Mitrenga said that if the hygiene rules were observed, the fear of work accidents involving HIV-infected people, in which blood also flows, would be unfounded. However, this hygiene requirement always applies regardless of AIDS. As Burkhard emphasized, this also means that gloves have to be worn anyway for first aid after work accidents. Minister of Health Schneider explained that dismissal from an AIDS infection was ineffective and that no one had to agree to an HIV test, even during a medical check-up. "You can even say the untruth if it matters." And doctors should only attest to employers whether someone is health-wise for a job, but do not give them any information about HIV diagnoses. There are offers of help for those affected: The State Institute for Work Design provides advice on the subject of occupational safety and health by telephone and on the Internet at, and for victims of bullying there is initial advice on telephone number (02 11) 8 37 19 11.

HIV-infected people need more nursing homes in old age Austria has also been concerned with discrimination against HIV-infected people in recent days. During the Vorarlberg AIDS talks, hundreds of participants discussed the topics “Medicine and Nursing”, “HIV / AIDS and Care” and “Positive Life” in Bregenz on Friday. As the pulmonologist Christian Zagler from the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna pointed out in the run-up to the talks, life expectancy hardly differs from that of HIV-infected people with early diagnosis and treatment from that of healthy people. As a result, people infected with HIV would grow old and need outpatient and inpatient care. Even if the number of people infected with HIV in nursing homes is still small, it will increase significantly in the next few years, probably not only in Vorarlberg. "We are at the beginning of this development and now we have to do something", says Renate Fleisch from Aids-Hilfe Vorarlberg. (ad)

Photo credit: Gerd Altmann /

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