These are the key findings of the joint survey conducted by the ILO in collaboration with YARSI University on the vulnerability of young workers to HIV infection and their access to social protection. The survey is aimed to assess the level of young workers’ knowledge and attitude regarding occupational safety and health (OSH) and HIV and potential of HIV transmission risk behaviours related to young workers’ working environments. The survey also aims to examine access of young workers to social protection programme.
Using a cross-sectional method, the survey reaches 250 young workers aged 15-30 years from the Greater area of Jakarta. The survey reveals that the majority of the workers (47.2%) are permanent employees, followed by contractual workers (37.2%) and casual workers (13.6%). However, the survey further reveals that for young workers aged 15-24 years, 1 out of 5 young workers are casual workers. “It also means that they are vulnerable to experience job termination,” says the survey.
From the survey, we learnt that we need to strengthen HIV education programme at workplace reaching out to all workers, including casual workers, to eliminate longstanding stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS and HIV risky behaviour. We also learnt that we need to continue encouraging enterprises to integrate their HIV prevention programme to their OSH mechanism and system."Early Dewi Nuriana, ILO Programme Officer of HIV/AIDS
In terms of knowledge on HIV/AIDS, young workers are found to be knowledgeable on the definition (91%) compared to older workers (84%). However, they are found to be lack of applicative knowledge on how to effectively prevent the infection of HIV. Only 18 percent of young workers understand about the usage of condom as a preventive HIV action and only 31 percent provide a right answer on the myth regarding the HIV infection through saliva and sweat.
The study finds that young workers are vulnerable to risk behaviours as there are around 31percent or around 1 in 3 people who have had sex. Half of them have already had sex in the aged range of 18-24 years old and more than half admitted that they have never use condoms. Unfortunately, in terms of HIV education at the company level, only less that a third of companies (28%) have provided OSH education sessions that are linked to HIV vulnerability and prevention.
According to the survey, this finding indicates that “despite the government’s regulation on HIV prevention and control at workplace issued in 2004, companies have not yet paid a serious attention to HIV/AIDS programme to be integrated in the OSH programme.”
More than half of the respondents (58%) have access to social protection and 23 percent of them have access to more than one types of social protection. However, the survey finds that young workers have lack of access to social protection. Only 47 percent of them have active memberships to social protection. “Companies have no obligation to provide young workers with social protection due to their status of employment as casual workers. As a result, young workers are more vulnerable to fall into poverty due to various risks at the workplace, such as job accidents, occupational diseases and event HIV infection, compared to older group of workers,” explained the study.
Early Dewi Nuriana, ILO Programme Officer of HIV/AIDS, said that key findings of the joint survey have provided the ILO and its partners insights about follow-up actions that should be taken to better protect young workers from HIV/AIDS. “From the survey, we learnt that we need to strengthen HIV education programme at workplace reaching out to all workers, including casual workers, to eliminate longstanding stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS and HIV risky behaviour. We also learnt that we need to continue encouraging enterprises to integrate their HIV prevention programme to their OSH mechanism and system,” she added.
The survey concludes with a set of recommendations as follows:
- Expanding the access to HIV prevention education for young workers.
- Supporting the companies to improve their HIV education programmes to eliminate stigma and discrimination at company level.
- Strengthening the implementation of the Manpower Ministerial Decree No. 68/2004 on HIV Prevention and Control at Workplace.
- Recommending the government to expand the coverage of social protection to young workers.
- Conducting a follow-up study covering more provinces in the country to have a comprehensive result about young workers and HIV/AIDS.