Firms helped to hire, retain HIV-positive, disabled people

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A program helping companies develop HIV and disability-related management policies will be launched this March with the participation of ten businesses in the north of the country.


The training program, known as Opportunity for All, will help businesses improve their profit via HIV prevention in the workplace and the recruitment of disabled people, according to a press release issued Friday.


The release quoted international and local research as saying that disabled people make loyal, efficient and productive workers. They also help businesses tap into a new customer base of their family and friends.


The Steering Committee for Population and Housing Census in 2009 reported that 7.8 percent of the population, or 6.1 million Vietnamese, are living with disabilities.


Sixty-nine percent of them are at working age (between 16 and 55-60), but only around 30 percent of them have a job and a stable income, according to the labor ministry.


UNAIDS, meanwhile, estimates that about 280 000 people will live with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam in 2012, and more than 40 000 people get infected each year.


The HIV epidemic is becoming a significant economic issue for enterprises in Vietnam who have to bear the costs of lost work and lost skills through illness related to HIV, the press release said.


The joint-project between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is part of the Decent Work Country Program initiated by ILO Vietnam.


The bigger project aims to ensure access to decent employment for vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS.

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