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EXPOSED: Employers forcing job seekers to take HIV tests

A judicial tribunal has raised the red flag over increasing cases of employers forcing job seekers to take HIV tests before employing them.

The HIV and AIDS Tribunal on Wednesday said such forced tests are illegal and punishable by law.

Job seekers who are denied employment on grounds of their HIV status can sue the potential employee through the tribunal.

The tribunal chairman Jotham Arwa said forced HIV tests have now formed the bulk of the cases handled by the body.

The tribunal deals with complaints on a case by case basis. This can include an order for compensation, payment of damages or reinstatement in cases where the complainant was already employed.

The tribunal chairman also expressed concern at the increasing cases of insurance companies that swindle money from HIV/AIDS patients. The companies often refuse to clear hospital bills for such patients despite receiving monthly premiums.

Other insurance companies give HIV/AIDS patients policies that do not necessarily cover them, Mr Arwa added.

He was speaking after a two-day forum in Kisumu.

The tribunal was established in 2009 under the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act. It has powers to hear and determine complaints arising from any breach of the provisions of the Act.