Human-resources strategies for managing HIV/AIDS: The case of the South African forestry industry

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Journal Article
African Journal of AIDS Research, 2011, 9 (3), pp. 285 - 295
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Previous work has focused on HIV prevalence among forestry workers and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the sustainability of forest resources. Following a review of work examining the impacts of HIV/AIDS on the South African economy, this article presents original qualitative research examining the responses of company management to the HIV epidemic across a range of enterprises in the South African forestry industry, including large companies, contractors and cooperatives. At the level of the enterprise, management occupies a critical nexus, at which the intersecting requirements of complex government legislation, the wellbeing of workers and the demands of the business must be met. The research demonstrates that large forestry companies tend to provide only a small fraction of their workforces with HIV/AIDS education, prevention or treatment services, as they have essentially outsourced the requirement through the use of labour-supply contractors who, by and large, provide workers with scant HIV/AIDS-related programmes or benefits. Moreover, the extent to which the different types of forestry enterprises incorporate the management of HIV/AIDS in the workforce with the management of the business is highly variable, and in most instances falls short of legislative requirements that have been in place for over a decade. The implications of this for the forestry industry in South Africa are acute. Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.
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