Working class at high
risk of HIV infection
By Bimbola Oyesola
Monday, April 05, 2010
HIV/AIDS is a workplace issue as it affects all aspects of development. Sectorally, workers are exposed in various ways and vulnerable at different degrees. The disease infects and affects groups in their most productive ages and workers are in majority. It affects productivity and decreases investments in other social developmental issues.
Outside labour and other industrial-related issues, another
major enemy threatening the working class’ survival
in Africa is the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Studies have shown that people with higher incomes, especially workers are more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than those with lower incomes and not working. A consultant for the Champion Project, Dr Eric Ramirez-Ferrero, said that the findings show the importance of having HIV/AIDS policies and programmes at workplaces.
Speaking at a consultative meeting on HIV/AIDS programmes at the Workplaces, Dr Ramirez-Ferrero said that the research was conducted in the sub-Saharan Africa. Commenting on the findings, the Champion Project Programme Director, Dr Ben Ngoye, attributed the trend to the fact that workers have resources that expose them to new social networks and behaviours.
“The working class have more money to use in social activities which may lead to HIV infection. Also there are professions and jobs which compel workers to be away from their families for a long period, thus, influencing them into having multiple relations.” “The meeting provides avenue to discuss means and ways of promoting a national dialogue about gender roles in relation to HIV/AIDS and the workplace with a view to formulating and developing workplace policies and programmes;” he said.
He also stressed the role of the employers and workers to
develop strategies and programmes to prevent HIV infection
in the workplace and community at large. The one day meeting
was attended by representatives from International Labour
Learn about HIV Drug Resistance
Drug resistance occurs when HIV is not effectively controlled and is able to quickly make copies of it. You are considered to have drug resistant HIV when the virus no longer responds to the medication you are taking.
Why your medication stops working
Your mediation can stop working because of HIV mutant strains. Mutant strain occurs as a result of re-infection of HIV types that are not in the body originally and can also happen when HIV makes copies of itself, it can make copies that have mutations. Mutations happen because HIV reproduces very quickly and mistakes are made in the process.
Some of the mistakes, or mutated viruses are harmless because they are too weak to survive and/or cannot reproduce. Other mutant strains can rapidly reproduce and eventually take over as the most common type of HIV in your body. Once this happens, the antiretroviral (ARV) medication you are taking will no longer be effective.
When drug resistance occurs, your viral load (the amount of
HIV in your blood) increases and one or more of the antiretroviral
(ARV) medications in your combination will need to be changed.
A key way to prevent drug resistance is to keep the virus from making copies of itself. That is why adherence to a treatment regimen is so important - consistent use of ARV medications helps stop the virus from reproducing.
Sometimes it takes just one mutation for HIV to become resistant to an entire class of antiretroviral (ARV) ARV medications. This is the case with NNRTIs.
However, it takes more than one mutation for HIV to become
resistant to the entire class of protease inhibitors (PIs).
Although a single mutation can cause resistance to one PI,
and in some instances several PIs, it will not necessarily
become resistant to the whole class. Some physicians recommend
starting patients on a drug combination that involves PIs
because it is more difficult for HIV to become resistant to
them than NNRTIs.
NRTIs are often used as the backbone of treatment regimens and are frequently used as the basis of first-line combination therapy. Like PIs, NRTIs also have a stronger resistance profile than NNRTIs. A single mutation can lead to resistance to one or more NRTIs, but it will not necessarily rule out the entire drug class.
Testing for resistance
The goal of resistance testing is to detect mutations in your HIV that has known impact on the activity of one or more of your antiretroviral (ARV) medications that you are taking now, and also what those that might switch to in the future. Resistance testing has become standard for any HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) regimen that fails, but is especially important if you meet one of the following criteria:
You have never taken ARV medications. Even if you have never taken ARV medications, the person who infected you may have and could have developed resistance to one or more ARVs. This resistance could have been passed on to you. Your viral load rises while on treatment. If you are on treatment now and your viral load rises, your HIV might have become resistant to one or more of your medications.
You need to change medications. If you need to switch one
or more medications and your viral load is more than 1,000
copies/mL, a resistance test will help identify a medication
that could work better for you.
You are pregnant or breastfeeding. If your viral load is detectable (there are copies of the virus in your blood above the level of detection), resistance testing can help identify which drugs are not working, so you can reduce the risk of passing the virus to your baby.