Syed Asif Altaf

Dr. Syed Asif Altaf is Global HIV/AIDS Coordinator at the International Transport Workers Federation. Over the last seventeen years, he worked in a number of international organizations to implement different reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prorgrammes.

Maria's world started collapsing around her when the clinic nurse told her she was pregnant and HIV positive. She had been faithful, so it meant that Josef, her husband, had given her the virus. She felt the fear rise within her as she recalled how others in the village were treated when their tests came back positive. She was furious at Josef -- not just for infecting her with HIV, but also because he would be fired when the trucking company he worked for learned of his HIV status. She, too, would lose her factory job in the export processing zone because being pregnant or HIV positive was enough to get you fired -- labour laws did not apply in this zone. Employers knew that firing people for having HIV was illegal, but with little enforcement, some always managed to find ways to do so, without repercussions. It seemed like only yesterday that Josef had mentioned to Maria that his union was trying to start an HIV prevention programme, but was struggling due to lack of funds.