New Global Partnership Sets HIV at Sea Agenda
The newly created Global Partnership on HIV and Mobile Workers in
the Maritime Sector, which brings together IOM, UN agencies,
unions, ship-owners and maritime health professionals, has outlined
its strategic vision to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among
With HIV rates among seafarers showing no signs of decreasing,
the Global Partnership is committed to increasing HIV prevention
efforts on ships and in ports, with an emphasis on changing
high-risk behaviours such as unprotected sex with multiple
"The high mobility of seafarers contributes to their increased
risk for HIV, linked to long periods away from loved ones in an
often stressful and demanding environment," says IOM Migration
Health Officer Roselyne Borland, who represented IOM at the
three-day meeting at the International Transport Workers'
Federation (ITF) Headquarters in London.
The group brings together IOM, International Transport Workers'
Federation (ITF), the International Committee On Seafarers' Welfare
(ICSW), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the
International Maritime Health Association (IMHA), the International
Shipping Federation (ISF), and the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
It also aims to build awareness of this critical issue at
national and international levels, with a pilot programme to raise
awareness among Filipino seafarers planned for later this year.
Current research indicates that seafarers are among populations
most-at-risk to HIV infection. Though overall prevalence of
seafarers is unknown, some studies have shown higher rates of HIV
among returning seafarers as compared to their home communities. In
addition to an environment of danger and isolation, seafarers work
within a male-dominated culture which encourages risk-taking
behaviour, including multiple sex partners and transactional sex.
Limited access to HIV prevention information and services only adds
to the HIV vulnerability of seafarers.
The Global Partnership on HIV and Mobile Workers in the Maritime
Sector is based in Geneva with IOM as Secretariat.
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