HIV/Aids disability claims have significantly decreased in the South African workplace, insurance giant Old Mutual South Africa said on Friday, as the world celebrated World Aids Day.
Approximately 12.6% (7.06 million people) of the South African population is HIV positive, according to Statistics South Africa’s recent figures.
The disability claims decrease demonstrates an improvement in the management of the disease, which is in line with Statistics SA figures, which showed a decline in the infection rate from 1.9% in 2002 to 0.9% in 2017, Urvashi Ramjee, head of claims management at Old Mutual Group Assurance, said in Johannesburg.
Old Mutual Group Assurance disability claims related to HIV/Aids have dropped from 16% in 2010 to 8% this year.
“This is around a 1% decrease every year since 2010 and can be attributed to improved education and access to antiretroviral treatment (ARV), and the management of HIV, which has resulted in those infected with HIV living longer and healthier lives,” Ramjee explained.
“Today, we are seeing more people return to work, whereas in the past, these claims ended due to death caused by the disease.
“While the statistics may appear more optimistic than in previous years, HIV remains a real societal problem in South Africa.”
However, Ramjee urges the corporate world and her countrymen not to be complacent in the face of this major improvement, saying more hard work lies ahead if the country wants to reach the UN goal of ending Aids by 2030.
She also called on the corporate businesses to play a leading role in removing the stigma attached to HIV.”