HIV training communicates to supervisors, labor leaders, and the workforce that the employer/union is serious about maintaining a fair, healthy, and safe workplace for all workers. Informed workplace leaders know the company/union policies and can effectively apply the policies in the workplace, and can be prepared for implementation of the employee/worker education program. Due to these wellness programs, informed leaders and workers will also have the tools to protect themselves, educate their families, and provide leadership within the community.
HIV Program Coverage
Employee wellness programs underscore the need for compassion and empathy. They are the hallmarks of wellness education. As a part of these programs, employees should be made aware of their workplace’s HIV policies, and where or to whom in the company they can turn to with questions. Employees should be given the facts about how HIV is and is not transmitted. Knowledge of the facts, laws and policies can help to foster a compassionate and productive work environment.
All workplaces should provide HIV education as a component of their wellness programs. For employees, workplaces can be one of the most trusted resources for information on HIV and is key to establishing a positive and productive workplace environment. In addition to improving the health of employees, these programs could also control health care spending.
An effective employee education program focuses on sharing prevention information and maintaining a comfortable environment for HIV-positive workers and for their co-workers. It emphasizes individual privacy. Workers who are living with HIV may wish to withhold their status from co-workers, or they may wish to disclose it. The situation can be sensitive not only for workers with HIV but for everyone involved.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) supports employee wellness programs. The ACA created new incentives and built on existing wellness program policies to promote employer wellness programs and encourage opportunities to support healthier workplaces. The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury jointly released proposed rules on wellness programs to reflect the changes to existing wellness provisions and to encourage appropriate designed, consumer-protective wellness programs in group coverage.
How Can My Business Make an Impact with BRTA?
Employers can lead the charge of reducing workplace stigma and discrimination by providing resources to employees, implementing policies and being actively involved in the community.
Prevention and Education
- Create a monthly “brown bag” health education lunch series and including HIV as a health topic
- Establish stigma reduction and non-discrimination approaches in your workplace through education and awareness programs, trainings for human resources staff and community driven campaigns
- Implement a peer-based health education program using trained employees to inform one another about health issues, including HIV
- Host an annual on-site HIV testing event with a local community-based organization so employees can voluntarily get tested
Treatment and Support Services
- Post information about HIV transmission and local places to get tested in your employee break room
- Provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. This may be tangible (for example, a certain type of chair) or non-tangible (for example, a modified work schedule for someone with a medical condition requiring regular appointments with a health care provider).
- Offer counseling through Employee Assistance Programs
- Establish a referral system to community-based organizations for medical care and other psychological services
- Integrate HIV education and prevention as part of the orientation process for all new management employees
- Set the expectation of the behavior and communication about HIV of all staff to promote a non-hostile, anti-discriminatory workplace environment
- Comply with federal, state, and local laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines, and the Affordable Care Act
- Comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by maintaining confidentiality of employee medical records and information
Philanthropy and Volunteerism
- Make strategic philanthropic donations to efforts addressing HIV
- Start a workplace giving campaign to generate support for specific local HIV programs and doubling your employee’s donation with a matching program
- Collaborate with a community-based organization, health department, and/or other local businesses to host a community HIV event
- Sponsor local social marketing campaign that raises awareness on the local impact of HIV