HIV/AIDS workplace education programme launched in Murmansk

News | 30 November 2004
Today, on the eve of the World AIDS Day and two moths after the launch in Moscow, a new three-year ILO/US Department of Labour project was launched in Murmansk – the biggest port in the northwest Russia and one of the pilot regions for the project implementation. The project aims to contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the world of work, the enhancement of workplace protection and the reduction of its adverse consequences on social, labour and economic development. It is financed by the US Department of Labour and implemented by the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the social partners.

In Russia the growth rate of identifiable HIV cases is now one of the world’s fastest: in 2003 the HIV incidence increased almost 40 times as compared to 1997. In Murmansk one in a hundred young men and one in two hundred young women in the age of 20 to 29 are infected, and the share of heterosexual transmission in the number of new infections has been steadily growing, pointing to a trend in the development of the epidemic.

In the Murmansk region a number of pilot enterprises from different sectors will be assisted in developing non-discriminatory HIV/AIDS policies. Their workers will be motivated to change their behavior in order to decrease the risk of HIV infection, and not to stigmatize workers living with HIV/AIDS. This new policy and behavior change education model, adapted to the specific conditions of Russia, may in the future be replicated in other regions of the country, as well as in other CIS states.

Speaking at the launch, Ludmila Chistova, Deputy Governor of the Murmansk region, highlighted the situation in the region, and noted that the project is an important international initiative, which will contribute to awareness raising among workers and will promote non-discriminatory and non-risk behavior. Collaboration with the social partners will be a guarantee of the project success, Ludmila Chistova said.

Alexandre Pervukhin, Chairperson of the Murmansk Region Trade Union Council, emphasized the importance of local ownership and access to project information materials for representatives of local unions’ units.

The social partners – trade unions and employers - expressed their full support to the new project.