World AIDS Day is December 1. This year’s theme is "Communities make the difference".1 The workplace is an example of a community that can make a significant difference towards preventing and ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. UNAIDS has a global goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030,2 and similarly in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to reduce new HIV infections by 90% within 10 years.3 This is important to large employers since 90% of people affected by HIV/AIDS are adults in their most productive years.2
How can employers, inside and outside the U.S. assist in supporting employees who are currently living with HIV/AIDS as well as help prevent new cases?
- Develop an HIV communication strategy for your entire employee population and couple it with a more targeted approach to better reach those at risk. The intent is to “normalize” speaking about the disease, simplify communications and make patients, and/or those at risk, feel less isolated.
- Provide prevention and transmission education materials, treatment services and voluntary counseling and testing for employees, and make them aware of any resources available.
- Develop anti-discrimination HIV/AIDS policies to identify and protect employers and employees’ rights and responsibilities in the context of HIV/AIDS.
- Provide prevention and transmission education materials, treatment services and voluntary counseling and testing for employees.
- Negotiate with insurers to eliminate HIV/AIDS exclusions from benefits plans in locations where they currently exist.
- Incorporate preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) communication campaigns into worksite well-being activities (where applicable).
- Integrate anti-stigma messaging in all benefit communications.
- Partner with health systems that have experience serving HIV/AIDS patients and have well-established programs to ensure proper prevention and medication adherence.
- Ask your health plan to assess network coverage for facilities that are culturally competent in prescribing and monitoring the use of PrEP.
- Partner with employer resource groups to ensure culturally sensitive communications to the LGBTQ community and other at-risk groups and consider them allies in your quest to increase awareness about prevention, testing and medication adherence.
- Ensure that your existing resources such as care management and navigation teams are equipped with appropriate information on best sites of care for HIV/AIDS services and are able to integrate behavioral health support for these patients.
Additional Business Group Resources:
- HIV/AIDS: Despite Progress, Much Work Remains
- New ACA Preventive Service Coverage Requirement for HIV (PrEP)
- Negotiation Tips for Mainstreamed HIV/AIDS Coverage
- Facilitators for Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS Coverage and Filling Chronic Condition Coverage Gaps
- Frequently Asked Questions about Prevention
- Frequently Asked Questions about Transmission and Testing
- Guide to Workplace HIV/AIDS Policy Development
- UNAIDS. World AIDS Day 2019. https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/WAD_2019. Accessed October 30, 2019.
- A guide for business — Working together towards ending AIDS. Geneva: UNAIDS;2018.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ending the HIV epidemic: A plan for America. https://www.cdc.gov/endhiv/index.html. Accessed October 30, 2019.