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Q.35 If a worker has HIV infection, should he or she be allowed to continue work?
Ans. Workers with HIV infection who are still healthy should be treated in the same way as any other worker. Those with AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses should be treated in the same way as any other worker who is ill. Infection with HIV is not a reason in itself for termination of employment.
Q.36 Does an employee infected with the virus have to tell the employer about it?
Ans. Anyone infected, or thought to be infected, must be protected from discrimination by employers, co-workers, unions or clients. Employees should not be required to inform their employer about their infection. If correct information and education about AIDS are available to employees, a climate of understanding may develop in the workplace protecting the rights of the HIV-infected person.
Q.37 Should an employer test a worker for HIV?
Ans. Testing for HIV should not be required of workers. Imagine that you are a worker with HIV infection and are healthy and able to work. As far as your work is concerned, the information about the infection is private. If it is made public, you could be a target for discrimination. If AIDS-related illness makes you unfit for a particular job, you should be treated in the same way as any other employee with a chronic illness. A suitable alternative job can often be arranged by the employer. The employers in different parts of the world are beginning to deal with these problems more humanely. Their associations and workers' unions can be consulted for advice.
Q.38 What if you are already infected with HIV? Can you still travel?
Ans. If you are already infected, consult your healthcare provider for guidance well before you plan to travel. Some immigration officials insist on an HIV free certificate. Your travel counsellor will advise you.
Q.39 'AIDS is mainly a problem of developing countries.' or 'No, AIDS is really a problem of developed countries'. Which of these opinions is more accurate?
Ans. Many people would like to claim that AIDS only affects others - other people or other countries. AIDS breaks the patterns that we associate with major diseases, for example, linking malaria with the tropics or perhaps heart disease with the industrialised world. AIDS affects both developing and industrialised countries, both cold and hot countries.
Q.40 How do AIDS problems in different countries relate to each other?
Ans. They are related in at least three ways. First, in every country, AIDS is always spread by a virus transmitted through sexual intercourse and through blood. Specific actions by people are therefore required for it to spread in all countries. Second, AIDS can be prevented in all countries by people if they change their sexual behaviour, by screening blood for transfusion, and by sterilising needles and syringes. Third, the prevention and control of AIDS bring most countries of the world together in joint action. They have the same basic problems to solve. For example, donated blood must be tested and everyone must benefit from the availability of simple, reliable and cheap blood tests to detect the virus. Only joint international action can make such tests widely available and affordable.
Q.41 If a person becomes infected with HIV, does that mean he has AIDS?
Ans. No, HIV is an unusual virus because a person can be infected with it for many years and yet appear to be perfectly healthy. But the virus gradually multiplies inside the body and eventually destroys the body's ability to fight off illnesses. It is still not certain that everyone with HIV infection will get AIDS. It seems likely that most people with HIV will develop serious health problems. But this may be after many years. A person with HIV may not know he is infected but can pass the virus on to other people.
Q.42 Is it true that male circumcision may provide protection against HIV infection?
Ans. Chances of transmission of HIV infection is reduced, the interior side of the foreskin has a mucosal surface, which is more susceptible to trauma than the tougher skin of the penile shaft or the glans. The foreskin also contains high levels of HIV target cells such as Langerhan?s cells. Recent study in Chicago has found out that foreskin mucosal tissue has a seven fold greater susceptibility to HIV-1 than cells in cervical tissue under same condition.
Q.43 Is oral sex unsafe?
Ans. Oral sex (one person kissing, licking or sucking the sexual areas of another person) does carry some risk of infection. If a person sucks the penis of an infected man, for example, infected fluid could get into the mouth. The virus could then get into the blood if you have bleeding gums or tiny sores somewhere in the mouth. The same is true if infected sexual fluids from a woman get into the mouth of her partner. But infection from oral sex alone seems to be very rare.