Meeting on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva on March 16, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners committed to ending AIDS-related discrimination in the workplace, as well as closing the gaps on HIV voluntary, confidential testing and treatment. The AfDB was represented by Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Solomon Asamoah. The engagement of CEOs and other corporate leaders follows a report that shows that many people living with HIV still face discrimination in the workplace.
The commitment is captured in a new publication by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNAIDS titled “AIDS is Everyone’s Business”. The report includes a collection of messages from top business leaders, including many from Africa. The publication was presented at the Africa CEO Forum.
“It is important to keep the issue of AIDS at the forefront and achieve zero discrimination in the workplaces,” said Asamoah, who represented AfDB President Donald Kaberuka at the meeting. “For Kaberuka, HIV threatens the fragile human capital it took us so long to build in Africa. We cannot be successful without preventing HIV and promoting zero discrimination at work,” Asamoah added.
According to the UNAIDS Gap report, people living with HIV “have an unemployment rate that is three times higher than the average national unemployment rate. The number of people living with HIV in Africa remains unacceptably high. Africa accounts for 71 per cent of the 35 million people living with HIV worldwide, 69 per cent of new HIV infections and 74 per cent of AIDS-related deaths. More than half of the adult population living with HIV in Africa do not know their HIV status.