Small Businesses in South Africa Should Encourage Employees To Undergo HIV Testing, Editorial Says
New data estimating that at least 6.29 million people in South Africa are HIV-positive "ought to re-emphasize the serious nature of the pandemic," a Business Day editorial says (Business Day, 7/12). A study recently released by the country's Department of Health showed that between 6.29 million and 6.57 million people in South Africa likely are HIV-positive, compared with an estimated 5.6 million people in December 2003. The health department's new figures differ from a May study by Statistics South Africa that estimated 4.5 million South Africans are HIV-positive (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/12). The difference between the health department and Statistics SA figures "is less significant than the fact that both numbers are showing marked increases, despite almost a decade of intense public information campaigns," the editorial says. The prospect of testing HIV-positive is frightening, even when people know that the diagnosis is "not a death sentence," the editorial says, adding that promoting HIV testing "has to have a collective grassroots feel about it" and "must be firmly felt in the home and on the factory floor, not at the level of political discussion." Therefore, small businesses should find ways to encourage their employees to get tested for HIV because "it is in their own interests to tap into the campaign," the editorial says (Business Day, 7/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.