Investigation into the quality of life of an employee affected by HIV/AIDS
Vollenhoven, Salome Minky
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One of the greatest challenges in the world today is fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Life expectancy in developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, decreased to 46 years while in developed countries the average life expectancy is 78 years. World Health Organisation(WHO) indicates that HIV/AIDS, now the world's leading cause of death in adults aged 15 to 59 years, is killing almost 5 000 men and women in this age group, and almost 1 000 of their children, every 24 hours in sub- Saharan Africa. In South Africa today, employees operate in an increasingly complex legal environment with regard to HIV/AIDS in the workplace. Despite the legal protection against employees affected by HI/AIDS and vigorous campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS in support of affected employees, the researcher has observed that management and co-workers show no compassion, empathy or understanding for the needs of these affected employees. An in-depth literature review of quality of life was completed. The goal of this study was to investigate whether the quality of life of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS is adversely affected. The following objectives were set: • To determine the family history of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS • To determine occupational history of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS • To determine the symptoms of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS • To determine the effectiveness of the anti-retroviral treatment programme of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS A descriptive qualitative research design using the case study method was applied to investigate whether the quality of life of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS was adversely affected. The population of this study were HIV/AIDS-affected employees working at a food and beverage company. Ten employees who gave consent participated in the study. The trustworthiness of this study was assured with the use of Lincoln and Guba’s criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. A pre-test study was also completed. All ethical principles were met. Data was collected through an interview using an interview guide designed for use in a semi-structured interview. Data analysed show that the basic needs of the employee affected by HIV/AIDS are not adequately met and that the employee therefore does not experience quality of life. Recommendations include the improvement in public–private partnerships; in-service training and continuous refresher courses for all employees, supervisors and management; employee assistance programmes; involvement of church and communities; support circle; holistic approach in nursing care and further research. The findings play a role in understanding the importance of remaining at work for as long as possible when one is affected by HIV/AIDS. The findings of this study further validate the concepts in basic needs and that QOL is perceived differently by each individual.