A Web-Based HIV/STD Workplace Prevention and Policy Development Program

Period of Performance: 02/01/2008 - 01/31/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ISA Associates, Inc.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): People infected with HIV are a significant part of the U.S. workforce and they are growing in numbers. Indeed, surveys suggest that working adults are concerned about HIV/AIDS, consider their employer a credible source of HIV/AIDS-related information, and want HIV prevention programs offered at the workplace. There are also many sound business reasons to implement workplace HIV education and prevention programs. Treating HIV is expensive, leading to higher health insurance premiums. No single disease has resulted in more workplace lawsuits than HIV/AIDS. Finally, common misperceptions regarding transmission can lead to co-worker fear and reduced on-the-job productivity. Despite this, only 15% of worksites offer HIV/AIDS education programs with most focusing exclusively on occupational exposure issues. This dearth of worksite programs is primarily due to the inadequacy of currently available resources. They are time-intensive to implement, do not rely on accepted behavior change principles, and cannot be tailored to the unique needs of individual worksites and their employees. The ISA Group proposes to fill this void by developing a web-based HIV/STD workplace prevention and policy development program for employers and their employees. This multi-media program will guide senior management through a step-by-step workplace policy development process. If a policy is already in place, or is subsumed under a more general life- threatening illness and disability policy, an interactive tool will assess its adequacy as it relates to HIV/AIDS issues (e.g., compliance with federal, state, and local laws; confidentiality; workplace discrimination; etc). This policy will then serve as the foundation for all workplace HIV/STD prevention efforts. For supervisors, the program will increase their understanding of the HIV/AIDS workplace policy, develop their skills to effectively respond to an employee infected with HIV/AIDS, and help them foster positive workplace norms for HIV/STD prevention education. For employees and their families, the program will provide training in empirically validated HIV prevention techniques. In Phase I, a prototype of the program will be developed and tested with 30 potential users (10 supervisors/20 employees). Participants will be asked to review the prototype program and compare it to the leading workplace alternative. If the prototype passes the established feasibility criteria, during Phase II it will be fully developed, rigorously field-tested, and prepared for marketing. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE This project aims to develop a web-based HIV/STD workplace prevention and policy development program. For businesses this will allow them to realize gains in worker productivity, reduce the likelihood of lawsuits, and reduce their health care costs. For employees and their families, the skills contained in this program will help them reduce risk behaviors and, ultimately, prevent the spread of HIV/STDs.