Background:This study addresses an important field within HIV research, the factorsaffecting the determinants of the employability of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) inTurkey. The employability of PLHIV is now even more vital because the use ofantiretroviral therapy improves the quality of life of patients. In spite of this, the relatedliterature suggests that there are serious impediments to the employment of PLHIV whoface considerable levels of discrimination based on their HIV status.
Methods:This is a cohort study of 170 PLHIV of working age, treated at the IzmirBozyaka Education and Training Hospital. We use a univariate logistic model to determinethe effects of all determinants of interest with probit/logit modeling and penalizedmaximum likelihood estimation to avoid bias and to test the robustness of results.
Results:Age, time since diagnosis, work status at diagnosis, wealth status, illicit druguse, and CD4 cell count were significantly related to the employability of PLHIV.Younger individuals had a higher probability of workforce participation. HIV‐infectedpatients aged 19 to 39 and 40 to 54 years were 32% and 20% more likely,respectively, to be employed. Economically better‐off PLHIV were more likely toparticipate in the labor force and HIV patients who were working at the time ofdiagnosis were more likely to be re‐employed. Time since diagnosis was negativelyassociated with the employment status. Compared to recently diagnosed patients,PLHIV for more than a decade were less likely to be employed. Those with high CD4cell counts were more likely to be employed. Illicit drug use was negatively associatedwith employment and drug‐addicted HIV patients were less likely to be employed.Higher education did not significantly predict the employability of PLHIV.
Conclusions:Our results suggest that besides immunological status, socioeconomicfactors play a substantial role in the employability of PLHIV. We suggest that even if apatient is skilled, educated, and qualified for the job, other factors such as stigma andemployment discrimination in the workplace may hinder employment even amonghighly educated PLHIV.
KEYWORDSeconomic and social factors, employment, HIV/AIDS, PLHIV, Turkey