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  • Over 68,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in the country.

    Over 68,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in the country. | Photo: Reuters

Organizations in the Caribbean nation seek to improve legislation to protect people living with HIV.

Officials in the Dominican Republic have denounced that employers continue to demand that employees deliver tests for HIV to apply for a job, despite the practice being illegal.

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Victor Terrero, director of the National Council for HIV and AIDS, Conavihsida, asked all employers to refrain from asking for HIV testing for current employees or those aplying for a job in their institutions.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 11.6 percent of the people who underwent HIV testing in the country in 2015 did so to get a job or to keep it.

"This practice is in violation of Law 135-11, which in articles 86 and 87 specifically prohibits it, and is one of the worst forms of discrimination that persist in the country," Terrero said in a statement.

Terrero added that among the challenges that remain for the Dominican Republic are reducing the level of mother-to-child transmission of HIV from six to two percent.

"We have to continue to develop efforts to reduce infections in children born to HIV-positive mothers," Terreros said.

Other challenges, according to Terreros, include the expansion of prevention programs, especially for sex workers and migrants. His group seeks the approval of a bill on education in sexual and reproductive health in Congress, as well as a law on equality and non-discrimination.

Approximately 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV globally had access to treatment, reducing AIDS-related deaths from 1.9 million to one million, which puts the world on track to reach 30 million people on treatment by 2020.

Eastern and southern Africa, which accounts for more than half of all people living with the HIV virus, has seen AIDs-related deaths decline by as much as 42 percent and new HIV infections by 29 percent, including a 56 percent drop in new infections among children.

Over 68,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in the country.

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