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Hiv and Aids Policy

RELIANT recognizes the significant and growing impact that HIV/AIDS has on the communities, families, and employees in the countries in which we operate. HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that has far-reaching effects, which shows no racial, gender, or class boundaries. We believe that RELIANT’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a significant contribution to the welfare of our employees, other stakeholders, and the members of the communities surrounding our operations. This Policy intends to promote non-discrimination, to improve the general health and wellness, and to protect the human rights of our employees, other stakeholders, and to the members of the communities surrounding our operations, by committing to:

Maintain confidentiality

An employee who is HIV infected has the right to maintain full confidentiality and privacy. HIV infected employees are not obliged to inform management or any other person in the organization of their HIV status. All reasonable precautions are taken to ensure that information regarding an individual HIV status, voluntarily provided to anyone in the organization, or ascertained through a medical consultation, via an HIV test or disclosure of known HIV positive status, is maintained in strict confidence. Such information is not disclosed to any other person inside or outside the organization without the individual’s express written consent. Organization summary statistics, concerning group HIV infection rates and/or other HIV/ AIDS outcomes, including HIV/AIDS-related risk behaviors, compiled from individual HIV testing, knowledge, attitude and practice surveys, may be shared with employees while respecting and maintaining the confidentiality of individual responses and results, and only with scientific and ethical purposes to contribute with the elimination of stigma and discrimination.

Promote non-discrimination

RELIANT does not tolerate any form of unfair discrimination against those infected with HIV and takes all reasonable steps to respect their dignity and their individual human rights. All employees, supervisors, managers, and medical staff who know (or think they know) an individual’s HIV status are made aware of the responsibilities of disclosing this information to a third party, and the consequences that could arise if this responsibility were disregarded. RELIANT recognizes that it takes courage for individuals to disclose their HIV positive status and that such disclosure challenges the stigma associated with the epidemic. RELIANT encourages employees to be open about their HIV/AIDS status if they so wish and take all reasonable steps to ensure that such employees are not unfairly discriminated against or stigmatized and that they have access to appropriate counseling and support.

Promote gender equality

RELIANT strives to equalize gender relations to successfully prevent the spread of HIV infection.

Generate social dialogue

The successful implementation of an HIV/AIDS policy requires cooperation and trust between employer, employees, and their representatives, and government with the active involvement of employees infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. RELIANT strives to form alliances and build partnerships to develop a common vision and shared strategy with all stakeholders.

Practice fair employment

Applicants for employment, for any occupation or position, are required to pass a standard pre-placement medical examination. This does not include an HIV test, nor indirect screening methods, such as questions in verbal or written form about previous HIV tests and/or questions related to the assessment of HIV risk behaviors. The only health-related criterion for employing an individual is the person’s fitness to perform the work offered. If a person makes his/her HIV/AIDS status known voluntarily, it shall not be a basis for concluding, refusing to continue or renew an employment contract. Employees with HIV/AIDS are governed by the same contractual obligations as all other employees. Employees who become HIV positive will continue to be employed unless or until they become medically unfit to work or maintain a low performance executing their tasks. An employee’s HIV status is not considered grounds for any other employee refusing to work with him/her. Working with an HIV positive person does not put an employee at risk of becoming infected in the course of normal working contact. HIV infected employees and those suffering from AIDS are entitled to the same sick leave, disability, pension, medical, and death benefits as all other employees.

Voluntary HIV testing

RELIANT encourages all employees to undergo voluntary HIV testing. We believe that testing for HIV is a critical intervention that helps to link care and support for those with HIV infection to broader prevention programs intended for turning the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. No employee is forced or coerced to undergo HIV testing. RELIANT will seek to arrange for counseling and testing to be provided by approved HIV/AIDS counseling and testing centers/agencies, including self-help groups and services within the local community. HIV testing requires informed consent. This implies that the individual knows and understands what the test is, why it is necessary, the benefits, risks, alternatives, and any possible social or economic implications of the outcome. Employees are encouraged to motivate sexual partners and their dependents to avail themselves of counseling and testing services offered by the organization as well as those in the community.

Promote prevention

Communicate basic knowledge about the disease and its prevention. Provide information to employees about voluntary counseling and testing within the community, and medication available. Inform employees about protection measures for anyone potentially exposed to HIV in the course of their duties.

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