How the UN is helping

What are my workplace rights as a UN employee?

The United Nations is committed to workplace rights for all persons, regardless of their HIV status.

First and foremost, the UN system has adopted a comprehensive workplace policy on HIV that expressly prohibits discrimination against employees living with HIV. The UN system mandates that workplaces provide employees with orientations on HIV and make counselling available.

HIV infection or AIDS is not considered a basis for terminating your employment. If your fitness to work is impaired by HIV-related illness, reasonable alternative working arrangements should be made. The UN believes that staff members living with HIV should enjoy the same health and social protections as other UN employees suffering from serious illness.

Learn more from the UN Personnel Policy.

Will the UN continue to allow me to work if I test HIV-positive?

Yes. UN staff members cannot be fired, demoted, or denied a promotion or assignment solely on the basis of HIV infection. Most people living with HIV are fully capable of continuing to work-whether within or outside the UN system. In the UN system, fitness to perform the required duties is the sole medical requirement for employment.

No staff member who works in the UN system can be fired, demoted, or denied a promotion or assignment solely on the basis of being HIV-positive.

When you are placed in a new position in the UN or sent on mission, the UN Medical Services conduct a medical exam to determine your physical fitness for the assignment. Keep in mind that the UN Medical Services do not automatically test for HIV, either for medical clearance or for periodic medical check-ups. Depending on the nature of the assignment, its location, and the state of your own health, the UN Medical Services might decline to certify you as being fit for a particular job. In all such cases, qualified medical staff will make this determination only after an individualized assessment of your health situation; no blanket exclusion of people with HIV is allowed for jobs in the UN. It may be in your own interest to reveal your status to the medical services if you are being transferred to a duty station which may not have good medical services or a good supply of the medicines for treating HIV. If a medical clearance is withheld for a new assignment, the UN Medical Services will not disclose to your supervisor or your colleagues the nature of any health condition revealed or detected during a medical examination, or reveal why you are not being cleared for a specific duty station or assignment. Should you decide to disclose your HIV status to them, the UN Medical Services will closely guard the confidentiality of this information, as it does all personal medical information, including your HIV status.

If, at any time, you have difficulties in performing your job as a result of HIV infection, the UN system will work with you to adjust your work situation so that you can continue to be employed by the UN system as long as your health situation allows you to actively contribute to the organization's mandate.