Discrimination against people living with Human Immune-Deficiency Virus (HIV)

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2009 National LGBT Conference
11 November 2009

Conference acknowledges the new campaign launched earlier this year by the Terence Higgins Trust with regards to the recruitment of people living with HIV. It records that this group are being discriminated against both during the application process and at interview. It is also noted that they are questioned about their medical history and in some cases, medical examinations including blood tests.

Conference is aware that misconceptions still exist with some employers and that people living with HIV are unable to work and will need to take a lot of time off. The Terence Higgins Trust wants to challenge that view and reaffirm that people living with HIV can continue to work.

Conference notes that people living with HIV are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act from the date of diagnosis.

HIV related stigma and prejudice is motivated by a toxic mix of racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and disablism. People living with HIV do not only experience problems during recruitment, they are at risk of discrimination and harassment after they have been employed.

Conference also notes that some people living with HIV may not identify as consider themselves to be disabled, be aware that they are protected by the DDA or require reasonable adjustments. Whilst it is an individual’s choice to disclose their disability, if they do not then they may not be able to rely on the DDA. Also, for some occupations (eg certain health care workers), employees are required to disclose they are living with HIV. Employers should have strict confidentiality policies in place.

Conference calls upon the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee in consultation with the National Disabled and Black Members’ Self Organised Group to:

1.Continue campaigning for a more equal recruitment process across all areas of membership for people living with HIV;

2.Publicise existing tools such as UNISON’s ‘Working with HIV and AIDS – a guide for branches’.