Today, people can live and work with HIV just like anyone else – yet they experience disadvantages in their everyday lives. By signing the #positivarbeiten (#workingpositively) declaration, Volkswagen Group has committed itself to protecting HIV-positive employees from discrimination and to promoting an open and respectful coexistence.
Elke Heitmüller, Head of Volkswagen Group Diversity Management, signed the declaration in time for World AIDS Day on December 1 at the Deutsche Aidshilfe (German AIDS Service Organization) in Berlin. “By signing the declaration, Volkswagen is sending a clear signal for diversity. We are thus underlining our commitment to a discrimination-free environment: HIV status is not relevant to professional activities at Volkswagen. Free from discrimination, every employee can contribute their full potential,” says Heitmüller.
Since 2019, the LGBTIQ* and friends network “We Drive Proud” has been promoting respect, tolerance and diversity at Volkswagen. “Education is a key element of our network activities. There is a lot of ignorance about HIV and the AIDS disease. That’s why it is important to convey that HIV-positive individuals can carry out any activity,” explains network spokesperson Thore Masekowitz.
The declaration #positivarbeiten / #workingpositively states: “Whether at work, in a partnership or in leisure time: With timely diagnosis and therapy, HIV today no longer needs to entail any restrictions. People with HIV can pursue any profession. They are just as capable as other people. An HIV transmission in the daily work routine is impossible, under therapy HIV is generally no longer transmissible. HIV-positive employees are colleagues like everyone else.”
By signing the declaration, Volkswagen has committed itself to protecting people with HIV and other chronic illnesses from discrimination and to sensitizing managers to the issue. Volkswagen is thus making it clear that employees with HIV are welcome and can show themselves openly if they wish.
#positivarbeiten / #workingpositively was developed in Germany by Deutsche Aidshilfe together with other enterprises. Around 100 companies and organizations have signed the declaration. In the meantime, the initiative has developed into an international movement in countries such as the USA, Canada, Austria and the Czech Republic. In addition to its efforts against discrimination, Volkswagen has been involved in HIV prevention at international locations for many years.
Facts about HIV and career
- With HIV you can grow old today and live like everyone else.
- With HIV you can pursue any profession.
- HIV-positive people are not sick more often.
- A transmission of HIV is impossible in everyday working life.
- People with HIV are colleagues like everyone else.