Managing HIV Risk in the Workplace: Learning from SMEs

by VASS, J. & PHAKATHI, S., 2006
Monograph prepared by Employment Growth and Development Initiative. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council Press

“The effective management of HIV/AIDS in the workplace is critical to reducing the negative consequences of the epidemic for the economy. This study, which is part of the Human Sciences Research Council’s research programme on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the labour market, provides six case studies on the impact and management of HIV/AIDS
in the workplace of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The paper explores the extent to which HIV risk factors related to social capital and restructuring play a role in the HIV/AIDS burden of each firm. This provides useful baseline information for developing sero-prevalence survey indicators for future survey studies. The study also documents the experiences of SMEs in managing the HIV/AIDS burden and draws out possible lessons and best practices from within the SME sector. This aims to complement the current set of best practices, which are based mainly on the experiences of larger companies. To gain an understanding of possible HIV/AIDS risk factors for SMEs, the case studies include a profile of each SME and its vulnerability to the consequences of the disease. These factors are then examined in the light of the company’s current management of HIV/AIDS. The report provides an overview of the research methodology, a literature review of the impact of HIV/AIDS on SMEs, and a presentation of the findings of each company case study, as well as a discussion of the research findings and key lessons learned. “