Across the world ITF unions will mark the day with activities including voluntary counselling and testing events, and prevention education. Find out more at the ITF campaign page.
ITF HIV/AIDS programme co-ordinator Dr Asif Altaf explained: “There were two million new HIV infections in 2014: our goal is zero new infections. Prevention, education and partnership are key. For example we are facilitating the formation of a network of HIV positive seafarers in the Philippines. We already have a small group, and plan to cover the entire country. The Philippines has the highest number of seafarers in the world, so success here will have a big effect globally.”
In October a major Philippines manning agent, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, agreed to collaborate with the ITF to promote awareness and boost job opportunities for HIV-positive Filipino seafarers. Magsaysay provides employment to 40,000 seafarers.
In Sir Lanka, Bangladesh, Ukraine and the Philippines the ITF is working with maritime academies. The aim is to reduce new infections by educating cadets about HIV before they board ships. Eighty per cent of new graduate seafarers in the Philippines already receive in-depth training in HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through the ITF module.
The ITF global initiative is to incorporate the HIV module in maritime academies in all the major seafarer supplying countries by 2018.
Transport workers are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The ITF is dedicated to raising awareness of this, and ending the stigma around HIV/AIDS.
Read more about the ITF’s work on HIVAIDS.