Media Release : Be-Inclusive & Action for AIDS join forces with 80 Singapore companies to end HIV discrimination in the workplace

9 April 2019, Singapore – Be Inclusive partners with Action for AIDS to launch the Inclusive Employers Pledge where Singapore companies unite against HIV discrimination. The Pledge has been signed by 80 companies in Singapore – with Salesforce as lead signatory – and is an active demonstration of their commitment to an inclusive workplace, free from stigma and discrimination. Local NGOs such as Oogachaga, Project X and The T Project are also collaborators of this Pledge.

The Pledge asks employers to pledge that:

  1. HIV status alone is not grounds for a person’s dismissal from employment;
  2. Support will be provided to any employee who suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their HIV status;
  3. Education initiatives that reduce HIV stigma and discrimination in Singapore will be undertaken, such as the Guidelines for Managing HIV/AIDS in the Workplace from the Singapore National Employers Federation.

Employers can sign the Pledge via https://be-inclusive.com/employers-pledge-on-hiv.

Comments on the news and business case of inclusion:

“From our experience employees, job seekers and consumers in Singapore today are increasingly discerning and socially conscious. A company’s handling of issues such as HIV at work is a reflection of the company’s core values of inclusion. Our pledge is a timely opportunity for employers in Singapore to send a meaningful and powerful signal to job seekers and customers. We are immensely encouraged by all the companies who have supported the pledge thus far. I am hopeful that more will sign. Ultimately if the number of inclusive companies in Singapore grows not only will be good for business, it will contribute to the eradication the social stigma and discrimination that many disadvantaged groups face,” said Laurindo Garcia, CEO and founder at Be Inclusive.

“Workplaces, from small and medium enterprises to large conglomerates, can play a crucial part in stopping discrimination against Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) in Singapore. HIV may seem like an uncommon and distant condition that has nothing to do with work, but it is, in fact, a very important workplace issue. Increasing the awareness of HIV and the acceptance of PLHIVs must be considered as part of a company’s wider framework of diversity and inclusion.

The challenge of being gainfully employed without the fear of being sacked because of one’s HIV infection must be addressed if we want to effectively control HIV in Singapore. HIV infection is a treatable chronic condition, and it should not be used as a reason to discriminate. It is good public health practice to have someone whose HIV status is known and successfully treated, than someone who is undiagnosed, unaware, frightened and potentially infectious.” said Avin Tan, Advocacy & Partnerships Manager and AfA.

“Building an inclusive society starts with us. By pledging to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, we hold ourselves accountable to living our core value of #EqualityForAll and I am proud that Salesforce is leading this Pledge along with Be Inclusive and Action for AIDS,” said Renzo Taal, Head of Asia at Salesforce.

“More often than not, discrimination comes as a result of people’s lack of awareness. At Chope, we aspire to lead by example through nurturing an inclusive and supportive workplace environment. Ultimately, our goal is to eradicate prejudice and embrace workplace diversity for all,” said Sean Tan, Chief Operating Officer at Chope

“Supporting a diverse workforce and protecting the differences amongst us is a basic human thing to do, HIV patients or otherwise, not to mention the numerous researches that have correlated it with higher productivity, creativity, sustainability and profitability. Seems like a no-brainer,” said Darius Cheung, CEO at 99.co.

A spokesperson for Barclays said, “At Barclays, we are pleased to have the opportunity to support Be Inclusive and to sign the employer’s pledge on HIV in the workplace.  By signing the employer’s pledge Barclays in Singapore is sharing our belief that a person’s HIV status alone is not grounds for dismissal from employment, that we will provide support to any employee who suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their HIV status (or any other reason) and we commit to building awareness among our colleagues about these important issues. These goals are in line with Barclays’ purpose and values. Barclays believes in diversity and inclusion, because we understand that our colleagues can be their best when they are able to bring their whole selves to work.”

Please contact the undersigned for more information –

Avin Tan
Advocacy & Partnerships Manager
Action for AIDS Singapore
Tel.: 6254 0212
Mobile: 91804782
Avin.tan@afa.org.sg

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Be Inclusive
Be Inclusive’s mission is to make it easier for companies of all sizes in Asia to do business inclusively by delivering practical tools and services made in partnership with community organisations. Enterprise-size and smaller companies in Asian that join the Be Inclusive platform gain tools for attracting talent, reaching customers and strengthening corporate reputation using inclusive business practice. By working closely with companies and community partners across the Greater Asia-Pacific region we can make a meaningful contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for reducing inequality and making cities more inclusive by 2030.

Action for AIDS
Action for AIDS (AFA) is Singapore’s leading independent organisation of HIV experts. AFA is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting AIDS/HIV infection in Singapore. It draws upon a network of healthcare professionals, advocates, educators and volunteers, to implement educational, testing, treatment and welfare programmes.

The organisation was formed in 1988 in response to the global and local spread of HIV infection. It is a registered Charity and is recognised by IPC (Institution of Public Character) since 2004. It has introduced numerous innovative projects and runs a broad range of support, welfare and educational programmes. The society has a staff of 10 and a volunteer pool of over 200. It is governed by a volunteer Executive Committee and funded through programmatic grants from government agencies as well as donations from both private individuals and businesses. The AFA Endowment Fund is managed by a Board of Trustees.