Panama Maritime Authority issued a Merchant Marine Notice focused on the risks and concerns related to HIV/AIDS and other health risk activities on board.
s explained, the notice was released in an effort to minimize the risk of accidents on board of the Panamanian Flag Vessel´s.
The shipowners or operating companies should develop provisions on the detrimental effect on their health and well-being of the abuse of alcohol and drugs and other potentially harmful substances, and the risk and concerns relating HIV/AIDS and of other health risk related activities on board.
In the first section there are analyzed the above health issues:
HIV and AIDS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to be a major global public health issue. It weakens the body’s natural defences against illness, leaving an affected individual susceptible to infections and some forms of cancer.
The most advanced stage of HIVinfection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to the Authority, the shipowners or operating companies should ensure that:
- provide and support health promotion and behavioral change programmes on HIV and AIDS
- eliminate prejudice and discrimination against seafarers living with HIV
- provide support in confidence for any seafarers known to be living with HIV
- provide up-to-date information, materials and advice on HIV and AIDS to all employees, both sea- and shore-based, through induction programmes and ongoing training programmes
- provide a kit for protection against blood-transmitted diseases in accordance with national specifications for carriage on ships
- make condoms available to seafarers on all ships
- maintain confidentiality concerning the status of any seafarer who may be living with HIV