It's good working practice for every company to have an HIV management system. Unfortunately though, not all those that do, create and implement them effectively.
They often lack vital components such as voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT). This is a huge part of protecting your employees from HIV. After all, employees need to know their status to know what kind of behaviour they shouldn't engage in.
And if your employees know this, you can offer them the help they need to stay healthy and keep working safely.
But including VCT into your HIV management programme can be tricky. You can't force employees to undergo this counselling and testing and many of them won't want to because of the fear and stigma around HIV.
So how do deal with these issues and encourage your employees to make that decision themselves?
Read on to find out...
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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!
Here's how to reduce the fear and stigma around HIV so you can encourage employees to use your VCT program
The trouble with a VCT program is there's a huge stigma around HIV. This is why your employees may not want to go for a test.
So, to implement a VCT program in your company, you must combine it with an in-depth training and community outreach program.
The training will give your employees the knowledge they need to understand the disease. The more they understand HIV, the less they'll fear it. As a result, the stigma will decrease and they'll feel more at ease about going for HIV testing and counselling.
Outreach programs help educate the people and families that influence your employees. After all, even if your employee understands HIV, he still won't want to go for testing and counselling if his family see this as a bad sign.
Testing, counselling, education and outreach have to work together to make employees and their families feel safe about getting involved in a VCT program.
If you do this correctly you can see massive results, just like Eskom, Sasol and De Beers did.
These two companies achieved remarkable results with their VCT program
reduces its prevalence rate from the national average of 19% to 7.1% through its VCT program.
And De Beers
enrolled 77% of its employees into its VCT program and reduced its prevalence rate from 18.8% to 10.2%.
All of these companies used a VCT program with training and outreach programs to try encourage employees to be safer.
As a result, more employees underwent counselling and testing. This allowed the companies and their employees to prevent further HIV infections because they knew how to protect themselves and each other.
When it comes time to create your company's HIV management system, ensure you include voluntary HIV testing and counselling along with training and outreach programs. Just don't forget that your VCT program must be completely confidential and you can't disclose the information to any third parties.
Doing this could help you protect your employees from the devastating impact of HIV.
PS. Training your employees on HIV might seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. HIV – Training in a Box
contains everything you need to educate your employees about this deadly disease.