Occ health: HIV in the workplace


The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Act 4 of 2000) outlaws discrimination on the grounds that a person is living with HIV or AIDS. This implies that persons with HIV can not automatically be screened out during pre-employment evaluations. There must be proof of fair discrimination at initial health evaluations (IHE) e.g the pplicant will not be able to fulfill the inherent requirements of the job.

Unfair discrimination also extends to transfers, promotions, secondments or access to further in-house training. According to the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998) the compulsory screening for HIV is prohibited, unless requested by labour court.

Non-compulsory testing of employees can be performed if the employees are prepared to
(1) sign consent for the test
(2) go for pre-test and post-test counselling
(3) the test is voluntary

Post-test counselling should include (1) explaining to the employee the test result (2) the concept of false-positivity and false-negativity and how that should be managed by the testee (3) give information to the employee on support services and indicate away forward on how to manage the affliction (4) health promotion (irrespective of the outcome of the test)