HIV and AIDS : perceived impact and responses of companies in the South African automotive manufacturing sector.
HIV and AIDS might not necessarily be considered by South African companies to be the primary health condition impacting on their production costs and influence related interventions. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of automotive companies' perceptions regarding the health conditions that impact on their productions costs and their related workplace interventions. A cross sectional, electronic survey was conducted amongst 167 companies from the automotive manufacturing sector in South Africa, using stratified random sampling from a representative South African database. The realized sample comprised 74 companies. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were conducted to investigate the perceived health influencing factors impacting production costs, the monitoring thereof, extent of containment, interventions implemented as well as perceived success of workplace interventions to address company health challenges in terms of company size (small, medium and large organisations) and ownership (multinational versus national). The health factors perceived to have a moderate to large impact are HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol use, stress, back/neck ache and tuberculosis. These are reported to be better monitored and managed by medium and large organisations. Small organisations reported a smaller impact, fewer efforts and less success. Large organisations have HIV/AIDS interventions while those with wellness programmes seemed better able to monitor and manage health issues. Smaller organisations were not convinced of the benefits of interventions in addressing health challenges. As the impacting health conditions seemed linked, comprehensive and integrated wellness programmes in health supportive environments are required to address the health issues and ensure organisation competitiveness. Evidence for the effectiveness of workplace wellness programmes in South African is limited and calls for the evaluation of interventions as a priority.