People infected with HIV are a significant part of the U.S. workforce and they are growing in numbers. Indeed, surveys suggest that working adults are concerned about contracting HIV, consider their employer a credible source of HIV/AIDS-related information, and want HIV prevention programs offered at the workplace. There are also many sound business reasons to implement workplace HIV education and prevention programs. Treating HIV is expensive, leading to higher health insurance premiums. No single disease has resulted in more workplace lawsuits than HIV/AIDS. And common misperceptions regarding transmission can lead to co-worker fear and reduced on-the-job productivity. Despite this, only 15% of worksites offer HIV/AIDS education programs with most focusing exclusively on occupational exposure issues. This dearth of worksite programs is primarily due to the inadequacy of currently available resources. They are time-intensive to implement, do not rely on accepted behavior change principles, and cannot be tailored to fit the unique needs of individual worksites and their employees. The ISA Group proposes to fill this void by developing a web-based HIV workplace prevention and policy development program for employers and their employees. This multi-media program will guide senior management through a step-by-step workplace policy development process. If a policy is already in place, or is subsumed under a more general life-threatening illness and disability policy, an interactive tool will assess its adequacy as it relates to HIV/AIDS issues (e.g., compliance with federal, state, and local laws;confidentiality;workplace discrimination;etc). This policy will then serve as the foundation for all workplace HIV prevention efforts. For supervisors, the program will increase their understanding of the HIV workplace policy, develop their skills to effectively respond to an employee infected with HIV/AIDS, and help them foster positive workplace norms for HIV prevention education. For employees and their families, the program will provide training in empirically validated HIV prevention techniques. In Phase I, a prototype of the program was developed and tested with 27 potential users. Quantitative benchmarks to proceed to Phase II were met and exceeded. In Phase II, we propose completing development of the WorkWell program and testing its effectiveness in a two-part study. First, recruit 25 policymakers at US companies who have not yet implemented an HIV workplace policy and assess their knowledge of HIV workplace policy and their intentions to implement such a policy before and after reviewing the Policy Development module. Second, randomly assign 600 working adults to review either the WorkWell program or the print-based CDC BRTA program materials. The impact of the Supervisor Training, Preventing HIV, and Family Education modules will be assessed one- and four-months after program review on both primary and secondary outcome measures.
This project aims to develop a web-based HIV workplace prevention and policy development program. For businesses this will allow them to realize gains in worker productivity, reduce the likelihood of lawsuits, and reduce their health care costs. For employees and their families, the skills contained in this program will help them reduce risk behaviors and, ultimately, prevent the spread of HIV/STDs.