HIV has become such a problem in the Philippines that the government declared it a ‘national emergency’ around the issue. New HIV cases jumped a ‘terrifying’ 140% in only six years from 4,300 new cases in 2010 to about 10,500 in 2016.
But given how prevalent HIV is, people living with HIV (PLHIV) still face high levels of discrimination in the workplace.
Kevin, 36, worked in a call center until he was forced to quit. When his bosses found out he was living with HIV they pressured him to resign. Kevin was left without medical benefits and had no idea how to fight back against what happened to him.
‘As a result, I lost not only my employment but also the benefits due me after I left,’ he said.
But Kevin is not alone. Workers who have been discriminated against because of their HIV status very rarely seek redress. A report released today by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found even though the Philippines has strong laws, which criminalizes workplace discrimination against people living with HIV, they are not often enforced by the government and authorities.
‘The Philippines faces a double whammy of increasing HIV infection and fears by workers with HIV that they can’t seek justice if they are discriminated against on the job,’ said Carlos Conde, HRW’S Philippines researcher. Read more via Gay Star News