It is estimated that at the end of 2003 there were more than 37.8 million persons living with HIV/AIDS worldwide and that over 1 million of these persons resided in the United States. More that 40,000 additional persons become infected with HIV each year. In a special issue of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, guest editors Brent Braveman and Gary Kielhofner bring together significant articles that explore issues related to employment of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Persons living with HIV/AIDS, often diagnosed in the first few decades of their lives, may now face decades more of life while managing the illness. Increasingly, the population of persons with HIV/AIDS consists of women, persons of color, and persons who have poor social supports and limited education and financial resources. In addition, many persons with HIV/AIDS may be challenged with mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and other co-morbid conditions. Not surprisingly, people with HIV/AIDS struggle to overcome significant challenges that affect their abilities to live independently and return to the workforce.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, Editor in Chief of Work, notes, “In appreciation of the efforts of Dr. Braveman and Dr. Kielhofner, WORK is proud to publish this special issue which makes an important contribution to furthering the body of evidence on the challenges of HIV/AIDS in the workforce.”
The papers included in this issue represent a range of topics. A review article attempts to address the major medical, psychological and psychosocial challenges related to living long-term with HIV/AIDS. A second review provides an overview of literature related to the employment needs, challenges and services provided thus far to persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Two articles discuss work and independent living programs in supportive care facilities. Two other contributions explore issues related to the relationship between demographic, health and other variables and the process and outcomes of seeking employment. Two papers explore issues related to the relationship between demographic, health and other variables and the process and outcomes of seeking employment.
Three articles by groups of occupational therapists explore the usefulness of occupational therapy assessments in understanding the experiences and challenges faced by persons living with HIV/AIDS. The editors have also chosen to include an article that focuses on women who have been victims of domestic violence (and are not necessarily living with HIV/AIDS). The authors report results of a two year qualitative study that explored worker role identity development of seven women with disabilities who experienced domestic violence. While this study focused on a different population than the other studies reflected in this issue, the experiences of service providers and the study participants are similar to those of staff and residents in facilities for persons living with HIV/AIDS and therefore we chose to include this article in this special edition. Two final articles present the results of qualitative studies focused on returning to work.
Source: IOS Press
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD