Companies, agencies and organizations attended this first Ibero-American Meeting of Initiatives with Companies in the HIV response. The purpose of the event was to create a space to share strategies, achievements and lessons learned by different initiatives with the private sector in Latin America and Spain.
“Most people with hiv are in the economically active age range. However, reports of stigma and discrimination index of people with HIV show that this population is still subject to discrimination and exclusion in the workplace. The participation of the private sector in the response to hiv is an opportunity in the promotion of a social context free of stigma and discrimination”, said Leandro Cahn, Executive Director of Fundación Huésped.
On the other hand, César Núñez, Director of UNAIDS Latin America said that “both multinational corporations and small and medium companies play a key role in the hiv response. Programs in the workplace can help reduce discrimination surrounding people with hiv and key populations, and to generate greater awareness of prevention, care and treatment (…)”.
One of the results obtained during this first meeting was the creation of a platform for Latin-American companies and HIV to facilitate the exchange of good practices and to implement regional actions within enterprises.
Discussion during these days of work highlighted the importance of the partnership between the corporate sector, the NGOs and the agencies of the United Nations system. Another important point was the inclusion of the hiv as a corporate priority.
In its first phase, the Ibero-American platform of initiatives from companies involved in the response to hiv will be co-coordinated by an Executive Council composed of the direction of AIDS of Argentina (HTCG), Group Telecom Argentina, Fundación Huésped and UNAIDS Argentina.
It is expected that the platform is dedicated to the creation of various working committees that will be responsible for the design of the agreed actions, and for the gathering and systematization of materials used in the work with companies. In addition, it is also expected to expand this platform to other companies and agents not present at the meeting.
“This platform is a clear reflection that the most effective and sustainable responses to HIV are accomplished with the involvement, commitment and shared responsibility of the entire society, one of the main lessons we have learned during the nearly 35 year history of the epidemic”, said Julio Gómez, representative of the Spanish organization “Trabajando Positivo”.
People with hiv should have equal access to job opportunities in all companies. In addition, it must also exist a domestic environment that promotes respect for all employees, without having anyone afraid of losing their jobs. A committed private sector is certainly one of the most important pillars that ensure a good hiv response in the long term.