In settings with a high prevalence of HIV, such as South Africa, provision of antiretroviral therapy programs (ART) in the workplace can result in cost savings for companies due to reductions in healthcare costs, absenteeism, and staff turnover, according to a study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) global health researcher.
In the study, published in PLOS Medicine, the research team developed a mathematical model to evaluate the past and future impacts and costs to a South African coal mining company of an ART program provided since 2002. The company was one of the first to provide services for HIV-infected employees in a poor country and provided HIV therapy years before it was available in the government sector.
The study by Dr. Gesine Meyer-Rath, a research assistant professor with the BUSPH department of global health, affiliated with the Center for Global Health and Development, and colleagues estimated that, as ART coverage increased from 10 percent to 97 percent of eligible employees, increases in the survival and retention of HIV-positive employees and reductions in absenteeism and benefit payments would lead to overall cost savings, compared to a scenario of no antiretroviral treatment provision.
“Beyond making good business sense, a company-level HIV care program including ART could go a long way towards improving the strained labor relations in the South African mining sector, especially when improved access to health care extends to the entire community,” the authors wrote. “It is crucial that strategies such as those under study here are replicated in other companies in similar settings.”
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/09/02/provision-of-hiv-treatment-can-save-companies-money/