The Ministry of Labour is seeking to put a halt to any efforts to stigmatise and discriminate against persons living with HIV through educational programmes.

This is according to Project Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS Unit of the Ministry of Labour, Rhonda Boucher, who was speaking this morning during a two-day, Stigma Reduction Workshop for public service officers at the Coconut Court Beach Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

She said the Labour Ministry was not only concerned about the health-related aspect of the disease, but also its social impact; and how persons living with HIV are affected.

In this regard, Ms Boucher said the workshops were part of the Project Unit’s effort at educating and sensitising public officers about critical issues relating to HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses, such as stigma, discrimination and confidentiality.

"Reducing stigma is a major factor in the HIV/AIDS programme, as this often plays a role in HIV-related discrimination," the Project Coordinator pointed out.

In addition, she said the work of her unit would soon be buttressed by the introduction of a policy for HIV/AIDS and other life threatening illnesses in the public sector.

Ms. Boucher revealed that the policy had been approved by the Cabinet earlier this year and plans are being put in place to soon launch the document.

The target group for the workshop included supervisors and middle management. It focused on HIV/AIDS in Barbados, Legal Implications for Breaches of Confidentiality, Electronic Records Management and Stigma and Discrimination.

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