HIV and Aids

HIV AND AIDS

It is estimated that approximately 20% of Company employees are infected with HIV. Amplats offers comprehensive health services for AIDS care and HIV prevention to 
all employees.

Preventive care – testing for HIV

Testing for the presence of HIV is key to avoiding or preventing infection. Moreover, a positive result ensures early access to HIV treatment, care 
and support.

HIV tests are available at all Company medical facilities. The process may take one of several forms:

  • Mandatory counselling and voluntary testing (CVT). All employees undergo an annual medical examination based on a statutory requirement. As part of this process, they are counselled regarding HIV and then offered voluntary HIV testing.
  • Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). HIV testing is available on demand at all our primary healthcare facilities, at the request of employees.
  • Outreach programmes. Throughout the year, outreach events are held, with a mobile unit going to all workplace areas and offering employees VCT.
  • VCT initiated by the health provider. All employees presenting with symptoms and signs suggestive of immunosuppression are encouraged to undergo VCT. Included here are sexually transmitted infections, TB and other opportunistic infections. All pregnant women are offered HIV testing as part of the antenatal-care package offered.

Through these various initiatives, 42,267 employees (82% of the total workforce) were tested for HIV at Amplats in 2012. In addition, 26,015 contractors were tested for HIV. This is considered to be an excellent response to our campaign to encourage testing.

When a contractor is diagnosed as HIV-positive, immunological staging through a CD4 count is performed at our medical facilities. In order to minimise the patient burden at state-run facilities, only contractors eligible for highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are referred to the local public health facilities.

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission

All HIV-positive expectant mothers receive HAART to reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to their unborn babies. In 2012, 56 HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled on the programme. Babies born to these mothers were followed up at six weeks of age and were all found to be HIV-negative.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

PEP is available to rape survivors, and also to healthcare workers in the case of needle injuries and other accidental exposure.

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Promotive care: Training and education

Peer education is integral to spreading the message about the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and educating employees about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Over 1,900 peer educators have been trained in the past few years. 
Specially designed teaching material is made available to the peer educators.

Counselling in respect of HIV and AIDS is conducted by the medical staff of Platinum Health medical aid.

Curative care: Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

At the end of December 2012 there were 6,830 (69.16%) employees enrolled on the HIV disease-management programme, of whom 4,443 (44.98%) were on ART. Non-adherence to treatment remains a challenge for the programme, but in 2012 there was an increase in ART retention rates. Those on treatment experience a noticeable improvement in health.

Rehabilitative and palliative care

The number of job terminations related to HIV infection is continuing to decline, owing to access to ART.