Standardized Assistance for Flexible HIV/AIDS Policy
Brazil, South Africa
In 1996 Volkswagen do Brazil developed a comprehensive prevention and care programme in response to an increasing level of HIV infection in the company's workforce. The initiative involved focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention and the treatment of employees living with HIV/AIDS. The prevention programme uses educational presentations and videos, information dissemination via the company radio, internal newspapers, bulletin boards and HIV/AIDS brochures.
A principal feature of the care provided by the company was the establishment of a scheme that standardized assistance, while allowing for some flexibility based on individual needs. The treatment and counselling provided by the programme includes access to infectious disease specialists, social workers, nutritionists, psychologists, referrals to specialized hospitals and home care. Patients are also given access to antiretroviral drug treatment. In addition, as part of the company's non-discrimination policy, assistance is given to personnel in order to reintegrate them into the workplace and society. The scheme can be described as providing comprehensive care and support.By the end of 1999, the company's monitoring system, which included both quantitative and qualitative indicators, showed:
a 90 per cent reduction in hospital admissions;
a 40 per cent reduction in the costs of treatment and care;
90 per cent of people living with HIV and AIDS covered by the scheme remained active and symptom-free;
an improved quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS at the workplace and in the community.
The scheme is seen to be successful in providing care and support and reducing the heavy costs experienced through absenteeism and death of skilled employees.
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