| Aids resource manual - A guide for teaching about AIDS in Thailand |
|Section I - Basic facts about AIDS|
QUESTION: Is it safe to work with someone infected with the AIDS virus?
Yes. Most workers face no risk of getting the virus while doing their work. If they are HIV positive themselves, they are not at risk to others because of their work.
QUESTION: What about working every day in close physical contact with an infected person?
You may share the same telephone with other people in your office or work side by side in a crowded factory, but that will not give you the AIDS virus, even if one of your co-workers is infected. You may have a job with lots of dirt and sweat or you may share the same food, and that kind of contact will not give you the infection.
QUESTION: Who are at risk while they work?
Health care workers, for example, doctors, dentists, nurses, laboratory technicians, and others have to take special care against possible contact with blood that may contain the AIDS virus. They can protect themselves by using the simple precautions (universal precautions) that are commonly taken in their type of work.
Other people at risk while working, and often overlooked, are Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs). Specifically in Thailand, female and male CSWs may service five, ten or even twenty people a night. Very often, they have to deal with a guest who has been drinking. Thus, the guest arriving at the place of entertainment is very rarely in a cooperative state. The Royal Thai government is implementing various projects, in cooperation with the bar and entertainment owners, to help protect the CSW from HIV infection.
QUESTION: If a worker has HIV infection, should he or she be allowed to continue work?
Workers with HIV infection who are healthy should be treated in the same way as any other worker. Infection with HIV is not a reason in itself for termination of employment.
QUESTION: What will happen in the future when more people become sick with AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses?
Many countries today, especially in Southeast Asia, are beginning to realize the dangerous implications of a high number of persons infected with the AIDS virus. Governments are just beginning to understand the enormous responsibility of health care, child care, and other costs associated with the disease.
Furthermore, these governments are realizing the economic relationship involved between AIDS and loss of workers from the work force. This has enormous implications, including loss of over all economic growth, loss of labor, and most important, loss of income for individual families. For Thailand, a National AIDS Committee (NAC) chaired by the Prime Minister has been set up. This NAC is responsible for budget allocation to all ministries in the control and prevention of AIDS at the national, provincial and district levels.
QUESTION: How can a family lose their income from AIDS?
A family can lose their income from AIDS when an infected head of the household starts to show symptoms severe enough to prevent them from earning a living. Thus, he or she is no longer providing an income, and this puts the burden of care and support for the remaining family on someone else.