AIDS support group hails anti-discrimination plan

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PETALING JAYA: An AIDS support group has welcomed a proposal by the human resources ministry to institute regulations to prevent workplace discrimination against individuals with HIV/AIDS.

“The new regulations will definitely be a game changer in protecting people living with HIV who are in employment,” said Martin Choo, general manager of the Kuala Lumpur AIDS Support Services Society (Klass).

However, he said it wasn’t clear from Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran’s announcement yesterday how the regulations would protect interns, workers on probation and those applying for jobs.

“It will be interesting to see what mechanisms will be in place to ensure non-discrimination on people living with HIV who are technically outside of formal employment,” he told FMT.

Kulasegaran did mention HIV-infected job seekers, saying they too faced discrimination, but he also said employers currently did not require HIV screening for prospective workers.

However, Choo said he had heard of cases in which people were coerced into undergoing HIV screening during pre-employment procedures.

Referring to Kulasegaran’s mention of a paper outlining the proposed regulations, he said Klass had reviewed the document and added that a community consultation on it might take place next week.

Kulasegaran spoke of the possibility of turning the proposed regulations into laws such as those that are already in place in some Asean countries.

Last year, the health ministry reported a 43% decline in the number of new HIV and AIDS cases in the country. However, there was an increase in infections among homosexuals and bisexuals.