A 2002 survey of UN employees regarding their knowledge and attitudes about HIV revealed some interesting findings.
- Fewer than half of staff report having received the UN produced booklet on HIV and of those who did report receiving the booklet, almost a third say they have not read it.
- Staff reporting at least some familiarity with various UN policies on HIV ranges from 27-35%.
- Just over half report knowing where to go for Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing.
- Low overall participation is reported for all UN learning activities on HIV.
- Knowledge for treatments for HIV, use of female condoms and living and working with people who are HIV positive is quite low.
- 12% of those who responded to the survey said they were afraid they might be HIV-positive but did not want to know their HIV status.
- 41% of respondents did not know their HIV status because they feared that seeking information would lead to negative judgements
- 32% said they feared the UN would not keep their HIV test results confidential
- ninety-six employees said they were living with HIV but were afraid to reveal this at work.
Despite these signs of the stigma associated with HIV, a resounding 95% of UN employees say that people living with HIV should be allowed to continue to work in the UN. In an environment of silence, the fears associated with HIV can sometimes seem more compelling than the tolerance of the UN workforce.
A mid-term evaluation report of the UN Learning Strategy on HIV/AIDS indicates slow but steady progress regarding employee attitudes and learning about HIV. Eighty-one percent (81%) of survey respondents stated that providing opportunities to all UN employees to learn more about HIV was “very important”. In high prevalence countries, more than 50% of staff knew their HIV status. Slightly more than half, specifically 54%, of respondents stated that a UN colleague's work arrangements or contractual status would not be negatively affected if he or she were known to be living with HIV. Respondents were generally likely to believe that most colleagues would be supportive if a UN colleague decided to disclose his/her HIV positive status to those at work. Over 75% of the respondents to the Facilitators’ survey felt that the Learning Strategy had helped to reduce workplace stigma and discrimination related to HIV.
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