Eliminating stigma and discrimination and embracing sensitisation and education in the workplace will be the focus of a forum to be held this month, when employees in the tourism sector participate in a consultation on the Draft Tourism Specific HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy.

??The session will be held on Wednesday, March 23 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The event is open to all persons who work within the tourism industry, whether directly or indirectly, from night auditors and beach vendors, to housekeeping and wait staff. The policy has been formulated in an effort to address the risk faced by employees in the industry and to ensure care, support and compassion to those who may be infected with the virus.

Through a joint initiative between the Ministry of Tourism and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), the document was created with the understanding that greater private sector involvement was crucial in the fight against HIV/AIDS.??

It was acknowledged that persons with HIV/AIDS could lead productive lives and continue to contribute to society. To this end, steps were taken to develop a framework which addressed a series of issues, including the reduction of discrimination, the provision of adequate care and education for employees and guaranteeing confidentiality for those who sought counselling.??

Additionally, as a sector which employs a significant percentage of the Barbados population, it was crucial to understand the implications of the possible impact that HIV/AIDS could have on the tourism industry. This led to the decision by the Ministry of Tourism and the BHTA to engage in the policy, under the umbrella of the ???Accelerating the Private Sector Response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean’ project.’?? The venture, which has been funded by the Department for International Development UK, with management support from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, has focused on encouraging active private sector involvement in regional HIV/AIDS strategies.??

To register for the consultation on the Draft Tourism Specific HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy, contact Madge Dalrymple at the Ministry of Tourism at 430-7500 or 430-7520.


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