Impact of HIV/AIDS on security and legal industry

Advertisement

The study, which was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on behalf of the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), also shows


Advertisement

 


Joint media release by the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
HIV/AIDS among private security and legal firms
The HIV prevalence among participants in a study of private security services in three provinces was shown to be 15.9%, which is similar to the HIV prevalence of 15.6% among the general adult population.
The study, which was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on behalf of the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), also shows that the HIV prevalence among participants in the study in the legal services sector (small and large legal companies) is slightly lower, namely 13.8%.
The central objective of the present study was to conduct a critical assessment of HIV/AIDS in both the Private Security and Legal Services industries, in terms of the prevalence and incidence rates of HIV, business impact, and the responses of businesses to the epidemic thus far. The study also examined knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices related to HIV/AIDS among employees in the two sectors.
The research was done among 2 787 participants from the private security services who agreed to be interviewed and of those, 2 224 agreed also to give a specimen for an HIV test. A total of 421 participants from the legal services sector (lawyers, legal secretaries, and clerks) agreed to be interviewed in the survey and 341 also agreed to be tested.
Fieldworkers approached participants at selected companies and asked their permission to complete a questionnaire and to provide a blood specimen for HIV testing. In addition, senior management from 13 private security and 22 legal services sector completed a questionnaire examining the business impact of HIV/AIDS.
Private security sector
In the security sector, males had a slightly higher prevalence than females (17.3% as against 12.3%), and black Africans had a substantially higher prevalence (27.3%) than other race groups (less than 1%).
As in other HIV/AIDS research, participants in the age group 25 - 49 years had a higher prevalence (17.9%) than those 50 years and older (7.5%).

Furthermore, as in other studies on HIV, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest prevalence (22.8%), followed by Gauteng (17.8%) and the Western Cape (3.4%).
The overall new HIV infection (or incidence) was 1.5%. The HIV incidence was found to be higher among Africans (2.5%) compared to other race groups (0.4%).
Generally, the large majority of the participants were very well informed about HIV/AIDS and were taking the AIDS problem seriously.
In terms of sexual practices, over one eighth of the participants (14.6%) had two or more sexual partners (17.6% for males and 5.6% for females), and the large majority (86.7%) had only one regular sexual partner each.
One tenth of the participants (10.7%) also indicated that they had sex with people who were 10 years older or younger than themselves.
As in other studies on HIV, both males and females below 24 years of age reported relatively high levels of condom use during the past 12 months (62.4% and 53.6% respectively) compared to their counterparts of 50 years and older (16.4% males and 9.1% females respectively).
Similarly, both male (63.9%) and female participants (44.8%) with two partners reported higher condom use than their counterparts with single partners (37.0% and 31.9% respectively). The majority of the participants also exhibited positive attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS.
With regards to HIV testing, the large majority of the participants (88.1%) indicated that they knew where to get voluntary counselling and testing (VCT)_services from but only a slight majority (53.2%) reported that they had ever been tested for HIV.
In some of the companies surveyed especially the larger ones HIV/AIDS was regarded as a serious business concern. However they reported that the disease had had only a small impact on company operations to date and that the impact varied by occupational category, especially among service workers, security guards and labourers. They also expected similar little impact in future.
Furthermore, the larger companies had developed HIV/AIDS policies and programmes as had SASSETA itself. However, there were few HIV/AIDS activities happening on the ground.
Legal services sector
The main findings in this sector were that HIV prevalence was 13.8%, with females showing a slightly higher infection rate (14.4%) than males (12.4%).
Again Africans had a significant higher HIV prevalence than the other race groups (20.2% against 1.7%), and the 25-49 year old age group was more severely affected (16.0%) than the age group 50 years and older (5.7%).
The levels of knowledge and attitudes held by the participants were similar to those found in the private security sector. The same was also true for sexual practices except that nearly one third of the males (32.2%) had two or more sexual partners when compared to only one twentieth of their female counterparts (5.2%). While the level of awareness of VCT services was also found to be high (84.5%), the large majority of the participants (71.1%) reported that they had been tested for HIV in the past.
When it comes to employer perceptions of the impact of HIV/AIDS on business, it was found that most did not regard HIV/AIDS as a business concern, and they also did not make any attempt to measure the potential impact of the disease.
The response of the sector in larger companies in terms of HIV/AIDS policies and the implementation programmes was similar to that of the private security sector.
Recommendations
It is recommended that basic HIV/AIDS health education programmes should continue to promote safer sex practices among males especially among those in the legal services sector to reduce the number of sexual partners to prevent HIV infection.
Secondly, there is a strong need to strengthen the `Know your HIV Status'
campaign especially in the private security sector so that every employee can know their status.
Thirdly, existing HIV/AIDS policies in larger companies in both sectors should be improved where necessary while smaller companies in both sectors must be encouraged to develop appropriate policies.
Finally, the implementation of HIV/AIDS policies and programmes should be taken seriously by all companies in the two sectors.
An electronic copy of the full report, The impact of and responses to HIV/AIDS in the private security and legal services industry in South Africa, is available at www.hsrcpress.ac.za( http://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/product.php?productid=2226andcat=0andpage=1a…

Advertisement


Advertisement


Advertisement


Google News


Recommended Reading: How To Apply For Jobs at FNB

 



Advertisement i




Advertisement m