HIV and Aids in the Workplace

Key facts on HIV/AIDS in the workplace
• HIV/AIDS has increased the burden of ill health and mortality in the 15 – 50 year age group two to three fold, according to the ILO, therefore an average of 15 years of working life will be lost per employee due to HIV/AIDS.
• The vulnerability of businesses to HIV/AIDS will vary, depending on factors such as the type of business and production processes. Businesses may also be susceptible to inadequate responses to HIV/AIDS by key suppliers – eg water and electricity, telecommunications and basic government services suppliers.
• Productivity growth may be cut by as much as 50% in hard-hit countries. Combined with the erosion of human capital and loss of skilled and experienced workers, this is likely to result in a mismatch between human resources and labour requirements.
• The indirect costs to a workplace of HIV/AIDS are greater than the direct costs. The costs of lost time have been consistently shown to be the most significant costs to organisations. Each HIV infection is likely to cost the organisation between 1 and 6 times the employee’s annual salary.
• HIV/AIDS will affect the growth of many markets for goods and services.
– HIV/AIDS is reducing the ratio of healthy workers to dependants.
– HIV infected persons have 5 – 10 years on average of asymptomatic productive working life. This period can be lengthened by health promotion and positive living.
• There are specific occupational risks in certain sectors, such as the health and emergency services. Otherwise the transmission of HIV poses little or no risk in most work settings.
Source: Technical Assistance Guidelines from the Department of Labour

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