ITF study on HIV/AIDS, ports and port workers
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HIV is concentrated in the adult working population, unlike almost all other diseases, meaning that families lose their breadwinners, workplaces their workers, and economies their most productive members. This is the big picture – the ITF recognises that some regions, population groups and economic sectors are more affected than others. Transport is one of those sectors, and for this reason we have risen to the challenge of putting in place a programme to help protect the rights, health and livelihoods of our members in the face of HIV and AIDS.
Port workers are not mobile workers in the same way as many others represented by ITF and its affiliates, so are they facing the same risk of HIV? The range of responses in a variety of countries suggests that risk is real though it is clear that more research is needed. What is indisputable is that port workers come into daily contact with many mobile workers, from both maritime and road transport sectors (and railways in some countries). They also have to put up with some of the same working conditions, in particular dealing with delays and congestion due to growing demand, constraint capacity, slow documentation processes and so on. They may also have poor living conditions.
In order to improve our understanding of HIV/AIDS in the ports sector, with particular reference to the knowledge, awareness and needs of ITF affiliates, and to prepare appropriate responses, the ITF carried out two surveys in 2011 – one into the views of affiliated dock and port workers’ unions across the world and one into the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs (KAB) of individual workers in four affiliates, from Belgium, Guatemala, India and Kenya. The report also includes a short overview of HIV/AIDS and ports, include a mapping of selected responses by a range of organisations.