Employment Discrimination Persists Against People With HIV in Paraguay

Employment Discrimination Persists Against People With HIV in Paraguay

The network of civil organizations that work on HIV in Paraguay received 51 complaints regarding employment discrimination towards people with an HIV-positive status.

From a total of 266 complaints received from 2019 to 2020, 44 people with HIV and 7 people without the virus reported that they had suffered employment discrimination related in some way to the infection, according to data from the Center for Counseling and Complaints on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights of the aforementioned network.

Within these cases of discrimination, 9 were unjustified dismissals, 26 people were required to take a test to detect HIV, 14 were discriminated against because of their serological status and in 2 more cases the confidentiality of the results was violated, according to the local newspaper La Nación, regarding the division by gender, the complaints were made by 15 women and 36 men.

The network of organizations recalled that there is a law in the country that protects people with HIV from situations such as workplace discrimination. In addition, it is important to remember that when people with HIV take their antiretroviral treatment, the virus load in their blood becomes undetectable and therefore non-transmissible.

The network also stressed that there is no impediment for people with HIV to carry out their work and that their simple diagnosis does not imply any risk for their co-workers. This is because there are only three ways the virus may be transmitted: sexually, by blood transfusion or contact, and from mother to child.

Furthermore, companies cannot require their workers to take an HIV test for any reason, since this implies a violation of human rights and in the country, they can be liable to fines or even the closure of their activities.

According to the network of organizations, discrimination against people with HIV only helps increase the stigma towards “the oldest pandemic in the world that is HIV”, and that only makes it easier for the virus to continue being transmitted, since people do not get screened out of fear, which prevents them from receiving treatment for the virus.