HIV/AIDS Workplace Prevention

Swaziland: Breaking the Stigma of HIV/AIDS at Work

At the supermarket chain, Superspar, a programme for HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the workplace has brought an end to discrimination against staff members living with HIV/AIDS. ILO TV reports from Swaziland.

Date issued: 01 December 2009 | Size/duration: 00:02:05 (7.18 MB)
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In Swaziland, a group of women visit their colleague, sick at home. Sisana is living with HIV/AIDS.

Sisana Buba, Cashier, Superspar:

They came and they did try to give me care. They support me with food, they also helped me with money just to go and get some treatment.

Sisana is a cashier at the supermarket chain, Superspar. She isn’t the only staff member living with HIV/AIDS. In Swaziland over one in four people of working age live with the virus.

Carl Litchfield, Manager, Superspar:

In the past it was very stigmatized and no one really wanted to reveal their status. It was like a total no, no. They felt like they would be outcasts in the community and even in the store.

To tackle this problem Superspar put into place an HIV/AIDS workplace programme, developed by the International Labour Organization supported by the U.S. Department of Labour and PEPFAR. It’s a programme that has been implemented in 24 countries by some 700 enterprises. At Superspar, staff can now get confidential, voluntary counselling and testing.

Jan Sithole, Secretary General, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions:

Workers who are still afraid of declaring their status, when they see an employer advancing assistance, then they are likely to then declare their status.

And if staff at Superspar do find out they are HIV positive, their boss, their colleagues are there to support them, with treatment, and even a friendly visit during work hours for those on sick leave.

Carl Litchfield, Manager, Superspar:

People are realizing that by revealing their status they can actually get help and can get better, it’s not the end of the road for them.

Sisana is now back at work and is giving her best smile to clients of Superspar.