United Nations Launches Program Aimed at Preventing Spread of HIV Among Maritime Industry Workers
The United Nations on Friday launched an educational program in six Southeast Asian countries and China aimed at teaching maritime industry workers about HIV/AIDS prevention, the Associated Press reports. Educational CD-ROMs will be given to ship owners and sailing schools, which will be encouraged to show the program to trainee sailors. Ship owners will also be urged to "develop company policies" on HIV prevention and education. U.N. officials said that seamen are at an increased risk of contracting HIV because of the mobility of their jobs and because some visit sex workers upon reaching a port. Lee-Nah Hsu, a U.N. official who developed the program, said that employers should not discriminate against HIV-positive sailors and should instead offer people with progressed HIV infection "a physically less demanding job." Vivian Banico, assistant general manager at NYK-Fil Maritime E-Training, a Japanese-Filipino sailor recruiting company, said, "There is a silent policy now that the person must be fit to work. If a crew member contracts HIV, then they may lose their job." The number of HIV cases within the maritime industry is not known, but officials believe there are "hundreds of thousands" of cases (Tang, Associated Press, 8/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.