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HIV/AIDS sensitization workshop in the work place and testing

UNESCO Windhoek Cluster Office held a half-day HIV/AIDS sensitization workshop in the work place for the UNESCO Windhoek staff on 13 September 2004.

An estimated 26.6 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and approximately 3.2 million new infections occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2003. In Southern Africa, the HIV/AIDS prevalence is higher than anywhere else in the world (UNAIDS report 2003). AIDS is now recognized as one of the developing world’s largest impediments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), particularly MDG5: to improve maternal health by 2015, and MDG6: to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The United Nations is committed to workplace rights for all persons, regardless of their HIV status. UN employees also have a right to accurate information about HIV/AIDS, including information on how to avoid HIV infection and information on testing for HIV.

The main goal of the workshop was to sensitize and educate staff on HIV/AIDS and to mobilize them for voluntary testing. HIV/AIDS myths, facts and treatment issues were actively discussed in the context of the workplace.

The seminar was facilitated by Mr. Paul Peters, a Namibian Sociologist and HIV/AIDS specialist. Invited guests from youth organizations (YWCA and YMCA), Mrs Monika Thobias, reported back on the outcomes of the HIV/AIDS Pan African Forum in Dakar, 2004. Mr Ben Boys, UNESCO programme specialist in Education also contributed to the discussions by reporting back on the outcomes of the World Conference on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok, 2004. The final session was facilitated by an HIV/AIDS counsellor from AIDS Care Trust.

Following the workshop, 66% of UNESCO Staff, UNESCO interns and both representatives of youth organization undertook an HIV testing at Path Care Centre, Maerua Park. The director and Representative of UNESCO office, Dr Claudia Harvey, emphasized during her speech that knowing our HIV/AIDS status is strongly advisable for everyone, and altogether be able to fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic. When asked why would you get an HIV test, a UNESCO staff member replied that “I want to find out about my HIV/AIDS status because I want to protect myself, my family and my country”.

Author(s) UNESCO Office Windhoek
Source UNESCO Office Windhoek
Editorial Contact: UNESCO Office Windhoek
- Email windhoek@unesco.org
Publication Date 30 Sep 2004
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