YWAM HIV/AIDS in the Workplace Guidelines

Ratified by GLT - Harpenden August 2006

"The Lord is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all and he has compassion on all he has made (Ps 145:8-9)."

Our God is full of mercy and compassion to all, including those who are living with HIV/AIDS. God has a message of hope, worth and dignity for all infected or affected by the disease. As a movement committed to following Jesus and His example, Youth With A Mission is called to love, accept and care for, without discrimination, all impacted by HIV/AIDS among our staff, students, volunteers and those with whom we work. We as YWAM acknowledge our responsibility and commit to serve and engage holistically with the HIV/AIDS pandemic in every country and in each area of culture and society until there is no longer need.


This document presents organisational guidelines and practice within Youth With A Mission (YWAM). It applies to YWAM personnel (staff and students), as well as to YWAM volunteers. While the guidelines attempt to be as comprehensive as possible, some issues, particularly legal issues, are specific to each country. It is advised that YWAM leaders in each nation should consult country policies to determine the rights of employees and/or volunteers with HIV or AIDS.

What are HIV and AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system. The body is therefore less able to fight off infections. People who have HIV infection are HIV positive (HIV+). AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which is a collection of signs and symptoms resulting from infection with HIV. HIV enters the body through contact with infected body fluids. The main routes of transmission are:


There is no vaccine that can prevent HIV. Therefore protection is by understanding the facts and following appropriate behaviour.


In keeping with the values of Youth with a Mission, YWAM staff, students, and volunteers will not be subject to discrimination on the basis of their HIV/AIDS status. For purposes of this document, this includes individuals having, perceived as having, living with, or otherwise affected by HIV/AIDS.

No program or service will be denied to any volunteer, staff member, or student based on their HIV/AIDS status. Staff, students, and volunteers affected by HIV/AIDS will be offered an equal opportunity to participate in any programs offered by the organization. Positive HIV status does not, in itself, reflect a lack of fitness to work. Furthermore, to the extent permitted by program requirements, YWAM will assist individuals affected by HIV/AIDS in order to fully participate in the organization's activities.

No current or prospective staff member, student, or volunteer will be asked or required to disclose their HIV/AIDS status to any employee, volunteer, director, or other individual involved with YWAM, except as required by law.

HIV Testing and Confidentiality

YWAM aims to provide a loving environment in which people feel free to share personal information and receive pastoral care and support.


There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Drug treatment, where available, can delay progression of the disease. This disease affects mainly the young productive members of society, leaving families and communities without caretakers and providers and people able to work.

YWAM responsibility

Management of staff, teams and departments to minimise problems related to HIV/AIDS

         1. Information on local centres for voluntary HIV testing, counselling and health care. If available, emergency telephone numbers should be made known to staff and volunteers in case of accidents, assaults, rape, etc
         2. Promotion of a safe, healthy, caring, non-discriminatory environment

At every YWAM base, specific staff should be trained in health and safety, and encouraged to give advice:

         1. to leadership on best practice in difficult or sensitive situations
         2. on where to obtain voluntary counselling for pre and post-HIV testing
         3. on prevention of mother to child transmission
         4. on post-exposure prophylaxis(i) in case of emergency
         5. on local access to affordable anti-retroviral treatment, with counselling
         6. to update with current knowledge, prevalence (percentage of people infected) and practice in HIV/AIDS issues

Appendix 1

Health and Safety measures:

Health care settings:

All YWAM staff involved in giving health care should understand and use Universal Precautions with all patients, at all times, in all settings, regardless of the diagnosis. Universal Precautions include:

Appendix 2


Appendix 3

(i) Prophylaxis is prevention. If a person is exposed to possible risk they may be able to receive medication which will prevent the virus from being able to replicate within the body. This is currently available if acknowledged within 72 hours of this exposure.

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