Washington Post Examines Workplace HIV/AIDS Policies
The Washington Post on Sunday examined HIV/AIDS policies in the workplace. According to the Post, "approaches and attitudes toward HIV and AIDS, particularly in the workplace, are still complex" and many managers "don't know what ... accommodations are available to HIV-positive employees." In addition, employers say they worry that it would be too expensive to cover the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment, the Post reports. Catholic Relief Services, a Baltimore-based international relief and development agency, 10 months ago updated its HIV/AIDS policy. According to the Post, CRS' new program includes mandatory annual training on HIV/AIDS for all employees, information on services that the organization provides to HIV-positive employees, and no-cost HIV treatment and testing for employees. According to Jennifer Munthali, CRS program manager for AIDS relief in Zambia, proving no-cost antiretroviral drugs to employees accounts for less than 20% of the company's HIV workplace budget. Peter Petesch -- managing partner at the law firm Ford & Harrison in Washington, D.C., and a board member for CDC's Business Responds to AIDS program -- said, "Even with companies that have sort of attached policies where AIDS and HIV are mainstreamed with other chronic and catastrophic illnesses, there is still a lot of wisdom in providing employer and manager education," adding, "People are living longer and working longer, and that just puts more of a spotlight on some of the workplace challenges that need to be addressed in these policies." Petesch advises that workplace HIV policies include nondiscrimination language and should encourage HIV-positive people to disclose their status (Joyce, Washington Post, 12/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.