MANILA -- The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) expressed “concern” on Friday over reports highlighting the call center industry as an HIV/AIDS hotspot, which it said created “stigma and “discrimination” to the industry in general.

“Working in a call center does not automatically mean that you can get HIV. It is the risky behavior that individuals engage in, such as having unprotected sex, use infected syringes by drug users, etc. These make individuals vulnerable to contracting the virus,” TUCP said in a statement.

With this, the group called on companies to adopt policies and programs on HIV/AIDS response to “erase the negative impact” of the epidemic.

“As early as 1998, we have been providing education and health services to our members such as giving out condoms, teaching them safer sex practices, in short educating them. Workers and Filipinos in general will benefit if sustainable workplace HIV and AIDS programs are in place,” TUCP said.

Retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal earlier asked the public to refrain from generalizing that the call center industry is the breeding ground for HIV/AIDS infection.

The industry is mainly composed of young urban professionals aged 30 below, which the government said recorded the highest uptick of AIDS cases in the past three years. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)