The Socio-demographic characteristics of employees who had HIV testing in 2005 within selected companies on the Direct AIDS Intervention Programme.

Xulu, Thembisile Lynette
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Background and Objectives: South African businesses are feeling the brunt of HIV & AIDS and experiencing losses in productivity and profitability due to high levels employee absenteeism, sick leave and disability as well as the added costs of recruiting and retraining. These losses have had a negative impact on the national economy and in response some employers have agreed to recognize that HIV is a business issue and introduced HIV workplace programmes. It is not really known whether the employees that are most at risk are actually testing through these employer funded programmes in order for them as well as the employer to gain maximum benefit. There is a need to identify barriers to HIV testing so that workplace programmes can design better targeting strategies. Methods: This study was a retrospective review and analysis of the 2005 records of tested and untested employees in 8 companies registered on the Direct AIDS Intervention (DAI) Programme. Results: Overall there was very poor utilization of Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) services with an average uptake of 13%. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that race, sex, period of employment and sector were significantly associated with HIV testing while there was no association with age and marital status. In general, Blacks were more likely to be tested for HIV (OR(95%CI)1.47(1.24 – 1.74);p<0.0001) and so were Coloureds (OR(95%CI) 1.79;(1.48 – 2.18); p<0.0001) and Indians(OR(95%CI)1.35(1.04 – 1.76);p=0.03) when compared to Whites. Males were less likely to have an HIV test (OR 0.69;p<0.0001) compared to female employees. Those who had been employed for more than one year were more likely to test (OR(95%CI); 1.83(1.37 – 2.43);p<0.0001) than newer employees. Employees who worked within a manufacturing company were more likely to have an HIV test (OR(95%CI) 2.39(1.96 – 2.92);p<0.0001) and so were those employed by a health/research companies (OR(95%CI) 2.83(2.11 – 3.81);p<0.0001) compared to those that were employed by a services sector company. Conclusions: The low uptake of VCT in this study is attributed to stigma which if not addressed will to continue to have a negative impact on the success of workplace programmes. Employers need to develop specific education activities in order to protect employees from discrimination and thus build confidence in the independence of the programmes thereby encouraging utilization.
Direct Aids Intervention Programme (DAIP), HIV testing, employees, 2005