5 Reasons why HIV/AIDS awareness is important

Thousands of people are infected and children are being orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. Not everyone knows the impact AIDS has in every community and every business or organisation. According to STATS SA, an estimated 7 million South Africans are HIV positive. Almost all of us are affected by HIV and AIDS. There is really NO cure for HIV/Aids. The best we can do to prevent this disease from spreading and taking more lives, is to educate and create awareness. Knowledge is power.

According to the etu.org.za website, in 1990 the life expectancy of people living with HIV/AIDS was 60 years. This has decreased tremendously over the past few years, and now most infected people won’t even live to see 60. Statistics show mainly women between ages 18 and 40 and men between ages 30 and 50, are the ones who are mostly infected with this disease. These are our working age groups as well as our childbearing women who sustain the population. It is safe to say that this epidemic will badly affect our society as a whole today and in future.

Because over 90% of HIV/AIDS infected people are in their working years, this is a serious problem all businesses face. “HIV/AIDS is hampering human resource development, undermining the skills base and driving away foreign investment. The benefits of a proactive approach far outweigh the costs of doing nothing”; this is stated on the SA Business Coalition on Health and AIDS website. So why should all companies’ present HIV/AIDS awareness courses? Why is it so important especially in the work environment?

 These courses encourage your workforce to get tested and know their status. The more your company and the individual employee know about their status, the more help and better assistance businesses can offer.
 Increased awareness of safe practices to prevent HIV infection results in people being more careful and ultimately decreases infection rates.
 HIV/AIDS Awareness programmes help people become aware of the levels of care and treatment, whether they are living with HIV or caring for someone with this disease.
 These courses give organisations the chance to invest in the communities by creating awareness and educating the workforce who pass down the knowledge to their community members. These courses also help infected employees understanding how to live with HIV/AIDS and make a positive contribution towards society.
 They help co-workers understand how to work together with HIV infected people, as a unit and not to stereo type or discriminate against those. These programmes help everyone to understand the disease, to boost staff morale and create better employer/employee relationships.

Industries especially under pressure to put proper HIV/AIDS policies in place, who suffer the most because of this epidemic, are mining, transport, manufacturing and the financial sectors. Bill Clinton put it so wisely by saying: “We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.”

But where do you as an employer start? Start by educating your staff and creating awareness through presenting HIV/AIDS programs. Help fight HIV/AIDS. Contact liezl@themindspa.co.za or visit www.themindspa.co.za for more information.