Because of the high HIV rate in South Africa, it's more than likely that you have at least one person living with the disease in your workplace.
Chances are, that employee has to take ARVs every day to stay healthy and to stop the disease from turning deadly.
But ARVs come with their own health complications.
Here are two things you need to know about ARVs so you can protect your HIV positive employees at work...
You need to know these two things about ARVs so you can take precautions to protect your HIV positive employees
1. Your employee may experience side effects from the ARVs, some minor, some life threatening
ARVs can make people very sick. This depends on the type of drug and the person. If you know any of your employees are on ARVs, ask them if they've experienced any of these symptoms:
• Dry skin, nail problems or hair loss;
• Abacavir hypersensitivity reaction (This is a multi-organ systemic illness that occurs in approximately 5% to 8% of HIV-infected patients who initiate therapy with abacavir which is a type of ARV);
• Kidney toxicity including kidney stones;
• Increased bilirubin and jaundice;
• Increased cholesterol and triglycerides;
• Increased blood sugar or even type 2 diabetes; and
• Injection site reactions and other side effects.
If they have, it could be a side effect of the ARVs and they should go see their doctor A.S.A.P.
Offer your employee a different job position that's less strenuous work if he's experiencing any of these side effects. This is for his own safety and that of your other employees .
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Reduce the impact of HIV on your workforce
How you may ask?
By educating your employees on:
• How to prevent HIV;
• How to prevent spreading it;
• How to work with HIV or Aids; and
• How to manage HIV or Aids.
You can minimise the effect their health and HIV status has on your business!
2. ARVs can also cause psychological changes
If your employee starts acting strangely, develops mood swings or displays anxious behavior, it could be another side effect.
These side effects should subside over time.
Because of your employee's ill health, it's wise take steps to protect him at work. Just remember, you can't discriminate against your employee and you can't force him to change jobs just because he has HIV.
Rather offer him support and do whatever you can to protect him.
Check out HIV – Training in a Box
for everything you need to train your employees on how to protect themselves against HIV at work.