To have an effective response to the AIDS pandemic, interventions need to address the root causes of risk and vulnerability to HIV, including socio-cultural norms relating to the sexual behavior of men and women, but also the issue of access to education, information on prevention and health services, as well as opportunities for descent work (ILO, 2011:iii). There is a realization that each part of everyday life is affected by the disease including the workplace. Therefore measures to sustain workplaces and prolong the productive work life of People living with HIV, must be taken to great levels in the workplace. The delay by the government and the private sector response in South Africa contributed to the impact of the disease in the loss of productivity.
There is a realization that through the availability of treatment, people living with HIV and AIDS can prolong their productive lives, however there is still an increased need for education, protection of rights and support from both workplaces and families. The aim of the study was to explore and describe the experiences of the Swedish company employees living with HIV and AIDS with regards to the Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme (SWHAP). A qualitative approach using a phenomenological design was the most appropriate for this study using in-depth interviews. The approach was used with the purpose of describing and understanding the complexity of the phenomenon from the participants' point of view, which in this study refers to employees who are HIV infected. To achieve the aims and objectives, one question was put forward to all participants: "What are the experiences of Swedish company employees living with HIV and AIDS regarding the Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme?" Non-probability purposive sampling was used since it was the sampling method that gave the researcher the opportunity to use her judgment. The following selection criteria was used: employees of a Swedish company in South Africa, who have been diagnosed HIV-positive, who have participated in the Swedish HIV and AIDS Workplace Programme and of any race, culture, gender or age. English was the language of first choice, however where necessary Sepedi, Setswana, Xhosa, Zulu, which researcher is conversant in was used. Nine participants were interviewed using semi-structured one-to-one interviews. The interview schedule was used to provide the researcher with a set of predetermined questions which served as an instrument to engage the participants. Furthermore each interview was voice recorded with the permission of the participants to ensure that the researcher had an accurate reference point. Through the semi-structured interviews, the interviews were transcribed and the following themes were generated. Theme one: knowledge of the Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme; theme two: sense of security about procedures of SWHAP; theme three: support services from SWHAP; and theme four: emotional experiences.
Subsequently, conclusions that were made from the findings were:
All participants expressed their satisfaction with the support they received from the workplace structures such as management especially the clinic nurses. There was however the observation that most participants had not disclosed their HIV status to the other co-workers, which led to the conclusion that there may still be issues with stigma in their workplaces. The experiences felt by the participants were also attributed to lack of knowledge of the SWHAP as a funding organization, but can associate it with HIV knowledge transference in the workplace, which needs to be addressed by the application of the recommendations made.
Several recommendations were made to the respective workplaces and in particular the SWHAP, including that employees living with HIV need to be involved in every step of implementation of the programme in order to feel supported. Companies need to invest in continuous training of health care professionals and social workers (if any), and peer educators on the new clinical management of people living with HIV, to enable them to be up to date with the developments. Peer educators need to be provided with continuous training in educating and supporting their peers and giving of information at their level in a confidential manner. Policies should be updated regularly to ensure compliance with the legislations regulating decent work for People living with HIV.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2017.