Educating employees about STI's

Advertisement

STI/Condom week is running from 10-16 February 2016 and aims to educate the public around the contraction and prevention of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).


Advertisement

 


STI/Condom week is running from 10-16 February 2016 and aims to educate the public around the contraction and prevention of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). While the problem of STIs impacts on personal lives, there is also a large scale impact on businesses: according to the International Labour Organisation, as many as 36 million of the 39 million people living with HIV take part in some form of productive activity. There is no doubt that STI’s – such as HIV – have far-reaching economic consequences.
Siraaj Adams, General Manager of the HIV YourLife programme at Metropolitan’s Health division, answers some questions with regards to the impact of STIs in the workplace, and the role that employers can play.
Is there still a stigma in the workplace surrounding STIs compared to, say, five years ago?
Unfortunately, yes. In recent surveys conducted by the HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) of South Africa, it was revealed that there are three categories of workplace interactions within which HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination might occur. The first category, institutional-level interactions, includes employee perceptions, understanding of, and experience with workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programmes. The second category includes employee interactions that relate to the physical job requirements - here it was found that there is potential stigma from workers concerned about the ability of HIV-positive staff to continue working. Fear of transmission through casual on-the-job contact was also found to be a potential source of stigma at the workplace.
Why is the workplace a good platform to educate people on STIs and HIV?
Business leaders have long recognised that workers' poor health significantly impacts the ability to run a successful enterprise. Wellness became widely accepted as a concept in the 1970s, and workplace wellness programmes gained widespread popularity during the 1980s. As a daily gathering point, the workplace is an ideal place to reach individuals with health information and incorporate healthy behaviour into the daily routine of the staff.
Do companies gain from investing in prevention and treatment programmes?
Enabling and sustaining healthy employees certainly impacts on companies in various ways. Other than improving the general morale and engagement of staff, investing in STI/HIV prevention and treatment programmes can help:
· Improve worker productivity
· Reduce presenteeism
· Reduce absenteeism
· Improve team dynamics
· Reduce staff turnover
· Increase profitability.
What can employers do to help educate their staff on the prevention and management of STIs?
There are a number of measures that employers can take to educate their staff and also to provide the right resources and environment for wellness regarding STIs and HIV. Among others, the following measures can be implemented in the workplace:
· STI awareness, education and wellness
· Wellness days
· Education on safe sexual practices
· Confidential counseling
· Counseling for staff and partners
· STI treatment
· Condom provision
· Confidential HIV testing and screening
· Confidential referrals to care.

Advertisement


Advertisement


Advertisement


Google News


Advertisement i




Advertisement m