Objective: To develop a model for prioritizing economic sectors for HIV preventive intervention programs in the workplace.
Methods: This study was undertaken in Karnataka state, India. A 3-stage survey process was undertaken. In the first stage, we reviewed secondary data available from various government departments, identified industries in the private sector with large workforces, and mapped their geographical distribution. In the second stage, an initial rapid risk assessment of industrial sectors was undertaken, using key-informant interviews conducted in relation to a number of enterprises, and in consultation with stakeholders. In the third stage, we used both quantitative (polling booth survey) and qualitative methods (key informant interviews, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions) to study high-risk sectors in-depth, and assessed the need and feasibility of HIV workplace intervention programs.
Results: The highest risk sectors were found to be mining, garment/textile, sugar, construction/infrastructure, and fishing industries. Workers in all sectors had at best partial knowledge about HIV/AIDS, coupled with common misconceptions about HIV transmission. There were intersector and intrasector variations in risk and vulnerability across different geographical locations and across different categories of workers. This has implications for the design and implementation of workplace intervention programs.
Conclusions: There is tremendous scope for HIV preventive interventions in workplaces in India. Given the variation in HIV risk across economic sectors and limited available resources, there will be increased pressure to prioritize intervention efforts towards high-risk sectors. This study offers a model for rapidly assessing the risk level of economic sectors for HIV intervention programs.