HIV AIDS in the Workplace

25 November 2020, Wednesday

HIV has been around for a number of years now, and still individuals choose to ignore the warning facts regarding this disease. Firstly, HIV/AIDS is a DISEASE OF CHOICE – you choose it – it does not choose you. If you choose not to wear a condom, have multiple partners, do not get tested regularly, you are choosing a very dangerous lifestyle.

 

HIV/AIDS is treatable but not curable! With today’s modern medicines, no-one needs to die from HIV, take your medication, get tested and follow your doctor’s advice and you will live a healthy and long life.

REMEMBER that if you do not wear condoms when you are HIV positive, you will re-infect yourself, thus making your medical regime that you are taking less effective.

BROAD DEFINITION

HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. It is dangerous because there is NO cure for it. When the HIV virus is in the body it attacks the immune system. Our immune system helps to protect our body by fighting off germs and infections. If the immune system is weak, the body can no longer fight sickness. That is why many people with AIDS cannot fight sickness such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and TB.

AIDS is the acronym for ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME.

AIDS is “acquired” in the sense that it is not hereditary.

It is generally accepted that AIDS is caused by HIV- HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS, which attacks and slowly destroys the human immune system by killing the important CD4 and T4 cells

which control and support our immune system.

AIDS is a syndrome of symptoms; it is not a specific disease. It is the collection of several conditions that occur as a result of damage the virus causes to our immune system.

Infection with HIV does not mean that a person is sick.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection.

VIRUS REPRODUCTION

In order for viruses to reproduce, they must infect a cell. Viruses are not technically alive: they are sort of like a brain with no body.

In order to make new viruses, they must hijack a cell, and use it to make new viruses.

Viruses hide their own DNA in the DNA of the cell, and then, when the cell tries to make new proteins, it accidentally makes new viruses as well.

HIV mostly infects cells in the immune system.

 

If HIV is allowed to reproduce, or “replicate” inside the body, it will cause damage to the immune system

 

TRANSMISSION OF HIV/AIDS

The following body fluids have been proven to transmit HIV/AIDS:

  • blood
  • semen
  • vaginal fluid
  • breast milk
  • other body fluids containing blood and saliva

HIV/AIDS transmission can occur when blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid, or “pre-cum”), vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person.

HIV/AIDS can enter the body through a vein (e.g. injection), the anus or rectum, the vagina, the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes (e.g. eyes, or inside of the nose), or cuts and sores.

Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV/AIDS and other viruses and bacteria.

The following are the most common ways that HIV/AIDS is transmitted from one person to another:

  • by having sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, or oral sex) with an HIV infected person
  • by sharing the same needles or injection equipment with an injection user who is infected with HIV/AIDS
  • from HIV-infected women to babies before or during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth

There is no risk of HIV transmission from casual contact in a normal work environment

FEARS, MYTHS AND STIGMA RELATING TO HIV/ AIDS

The general lack of education about the HIV-AIDS epidemic, has led to fear of the effects of the disease and fear of the stigma attached to contracting the HIV/AIDS virus, exacerbating its almost uncontrolled spread. Whilst there is little chance of workplace transmission, suspicion, superstition, and discrimination will, most decidedly, cause disruption for employers.

The myth that HIV/AIDS is a gay disease further increases the stigma attached to the disease.

The unwillingness of those who suspect they have the virus to be tested also leads to increased fear

 

MYTH 1

There is no evidence to suggest that HIV exists as a virus. Therefore it is not responsible for causing AIDS. AIDS has been around a long time and is due to factors such as poor living conditions, malnutrition, trauma and stress.

REALITY

While science can never be as certain as mathematics, the world’s leading virologists believe that the HIV hypothesis is correct, and that AIDS is a direct result of HIV.

 

MYTH 2

HIV is a unique virus inflicted on mankind as punishment for the wicked.

REALITY

HIV is like any other virus except that it attacks the immune system itself. If only people would see that there is nothing mysterious about HIV, we could remove the stigma surrounding it and combat it more openly and effectively.

 

MYTH 3

AIDS is the result of people having sex with monkeys.

REALITY

The disease is likely to have originated from monkeys in Africa most probably from contact between human blood and the contaminated blood of a monkey. It is not the first, and nor will it be the last disease to cross the species barrier.

 

MYTH 4

HIV-infected individuals who show no signs of illness will not infect their partners.

REALITY

People who are HIV positive must be assumed to be infectious at all times. However, immediately after they are infected, and later, as they begin to fall ill, they are more infectious than usual because their viral load is higher.

 

MYTH 5

AIDS can be contracted by touching and kissing, being close to an infected person and sharing facilities.

REALITY

Blood, semen, vaginal secretions or breast milk have to be involved (human body fluid). The chances of infection from blood spilt in the absence of contact with another person’s open wound are minimal. The virus can only survive for a short period outside of the human body. However, common sense dictates that contact with blood should be avoided, and people giving first aid should use protective gloves because other blood-borne diseases are more easily transmitted.

 

MYTH 6

A child born to an infected mother will be HIV positive.

REALITY

The chance of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is about 30 percent and can be greatly reduced with appropriate interventions

 

MYTH 7

Babies should not be saved from catching the virus because it adds to the subsequent orphan problem.

REALITY

Every life should be saved where possible. Bringing down the cost of treatment to stop MTCT is therefore a major priority.

 

MYTH 8

HIV tests are not accurate.

REALITY

They are extremely accurate, but for the window period when people have not yet developed antibodies and will therefore test false negative.

 

MYTH 9

Condoms don’t work because the virus can pass though the latex, and they fail anyway.

REALITY

The virus cannot pass through latex. If condoms are used properly, consistently, and are SABS approved, they provide close to the 100% protection.

 

MYTH 10

HIV/AIDS is untreatable.

REALITY

Therapies are available which reduce the viral load (and therefore the infectiousness). They definitely improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, watching your diet, staying healthy and having a positive attitude all contribute to your life expectancy

 

MYTH 11

Recent medical advances mean that AIDS can be cured.

REALITY

Although medical advances have been spectacular, there is still no cure or vaccine for AIDS. What we know is that taking various combinations of drugs can reduce the virus to undetectable levels. However, this does not work for all patients. There are side effects, compliance is not easy, the virus develops resistance to some drugs in some patients, and it is probable that once people stop taking the drugs, the virus particles will rebound twice as fast.

 

MYTH 12

AIDS is a disease which is mainly restricted to the homosexual community

REALITY

In the future, it is likely that more women in the world will be HIV positive than men. This is because the changes of transmission from an HIV-positive man to an HIV – free women are considerably higher than vice versa.

 

MYTH 13

South Africa will follow the industrialised countries’ pattern. Asia will experience an African-scale epidemic.

REALITY

South Africa already has an epidemic many times larger than that experienced by the worst-hit industrialised country. Different countries have different epidemic patterns. This implies that different preventive programmes, suitably tailored for local conditions and the predominant mode of transmission in a particular country, should be implemented.

 

MYTH 14

AIDS is a disease of black people in South Africa.

REALITY

As we would expect, in terms of absolute numbers, there are many more black people infected than other race groups. But there is evidence that AIDS is spreading through all groups in South Africa and is breaching class barriers.

MYTH 15

HIV has spread so far that prevention efforts are irrelevant.

 

REALITY

Prevention efforts must remain a priority because:

  • Even in the worst affected areas where up to 40% of the community are infected, at least 60% are not. They can remain uninfected.
  • Each year a new generation becomes sexually active, and they can be educated to take precautionary measure.
  • In parts of South Africa, HIV prevalence is low.

 

MYTH 16

  1. AIDS will cause national populations to fall.
  2. The population of KZN is already declining.

 

REALITY

  1. Even in the worst affected countries, it is unlikely that overall population growth rates will become sharply negative. What we will see is a slower growth rate and thus, in the years ahead the population will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of AIDS. In South Africa, for example, it is estimated that without AIDS the population would have risen to 51.3 million in 2010. With AIDS it is now expected to reach 40 million.
  2. Within the hardest hit regions in badly affected countries, the population could actually decline. In this regard, the population of KZN is projected to register a small drop after 2009.

 

MYTH 17

AIDS will solve the unemployment problem.

REALITY

By killing the economically active age group, AIDS will provide employment opportunities for those at present unemployed. Equally, AIDS will reduce the ranks of unemployed as they fall sick and die.

 

MYTH 18

AIDS is a soft business issue best handled by the human resource function in the company.

REALITY

AIDS is going to have a significant impact on bottom-line profits and needs to be part and parcel of line management’s strategic thinking and decision-making.

 

STAYING HEALTHY WITH HIV/AIDS

Extremely Important

Selenium                       100 to 200 mcg daily

 

Very Important

VITAMIN A                     600 mcg daily or

BETA CAROTENE            600 mcg daily

VITAMIN C                    2000 to 3000 mg per day

VITAMIN B12                 10 to 30 mcg daily

 

Important

VITAMIN B2                   25 to 50 mg daily

VITAMIN B6                  25 to 50 mg daily

FOLIC ACID                   1 mg daily

IRON                             15 to 20 mg daily

CALCIUM                       350 to 800 mg daily

MAGNESIUM                   200 to 500

You must take a good multivitamin, one that has a high vitamin B complex in it.

Always eat a good breakfast, such as Futurelife Porridge as it has all the nutritional requirements.

 

EATING TO STAY HEALTHY

  • Eat when hungry, not out of habit. Graze rather than gorge
  • Eat little and often, with plenty of fruit as snacks in between
  • Eat a mainly vegan diet, with half your intake of food consisting of fruit, vegetables, seed sprouts, nuts and seeds. Choose fish, poultry or organic game instead of red meat, and eat meat only with vegetables
  • Eat food as raw (steamed) and unprocessed as possible. Avoid synthetic chemicals
  • Avoid concentrated foods such as sugar and sweeteners. Dilute fruit juices. Drink plenty of water
  • Minimise your intake of dairy foods, refined wheat and grains
  • Take frequent exercise and keep active