U.N. Launches Workplace HIV Program
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday launched U.N. Cares, a new workplace HIV program that will provide such services as training, counseling and testing for U.N. staff and their families, Xinhua/China View reports. The program aims to meet 10 minimum standards -- such as insurance coverage and condom access -- by the end of 2011 by making staff, time and resources more available. U.N. Cares will work in conjunction with the organization's advocacy and support network for HIV-positive employees, as well as address workplace stigma and discrimination. Fifteen U.N. bodies to date have pledged about $1.3 million to U.N. Cares, and Ban on Tuesday said that the U.N. Secretariat will provide about $350,000 as part of an initial contribution.
"Since the early 1990s, the impact of the virus on our work and on the communities we serve has been historic in magnitude," Ban said, adding, "At the same time, our workplace, our staff and our families are profoundly affected." According to Ban, the launch of U.N. Cares represents a "milestone in the U.N. response to HIV." Ban also pledged to make the United Nations a model workplace in its response to HIV/AIDS, adding that the organization's "performance will be only as good as the commitment and contribution of every one of us." In addition, Ban called on U.N. staff to learn essential information about HIV, take measures to protect themselves from contracting the virus and participate in U.N. Cares programs (Xinhua/China View, 5/6).