Impact of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace in South Africa
Anele Z. Sigcau, Zuko April
Statistics South Africa, Statistics South Africa, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa; Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Trade and Industry, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

South Africa is known as one of the countries most affected by Aids in the World. According to the UNAIDS report released in 2008, HIV/AIDS remained a major challenge facing South Africa due to the highest number of people living with the virus. The report also confirmed that the country also had the highest number of people on treatment globally.

HIV/Aids has a significant impact on business, not only causing costs to escalate and markets to contract, but also damaging the societal wellbeing essential for a healthy economy.

While many would argue that business has a moral responsibility to help tackle the worst health crisis the world has seen since the Black Plague, there is also the matter of the bottom line.

For anyone doing business in South Africa, 10-40% of the workforce is likely to be infected with HIV. But the impact and potential impact of HIV/Aids varies greatly from one company to the next. Labour and capital-intensive industries, as well as those with high Labour mobility, are most affected.

Research shows that if companies invest in prevention and treatment programmes, the savings outweigh the costs. Providing care and treatment for HIV-positive employees can reduce the financial burden of HIV/Aids by as much as 40%.

In South Africa the mining, metals processing, agribusiness and transport sectors are most affected by the pandemic, with more than 23% of employees infected with HIV/Aids. Prevalence rates are also higher among skilled and unskilled workers than among supervisors and managers.

Keywords: South Africa; HIV/AIDS; UNAIDS; For anyone doing business in South Africa, 10-40% of the workforce is likely to be infected with HIV

Biography: I matriculated in 1999 at Vezubuhle High School in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. I then obtained a National Diploma in Marketing at the then Durban Institute of Technology which came into being as a result of a merger between ML Sultan & Natal Technikons. I also possess a Barchelor of Technology degree in Marketing from Tshwane University of Technology.