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Today AIDS is the second leading cause of death among adults between the ages of 25 and 44 With more than half of the nations 126 million workers in this age group managers cannot afford to ignore this deadly disease As more effective drug therapies such as protease inhibitors are extending the lives of HIV positive people an increased number are able to return to the workforce and stay productive One in six large companies has had an employee with HIVAIDS and one in 15 companies with 15 to 49 employees has had at least one worker with HIVAIDS according to the CDC in Atlanta The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2000 there will be 15 million new adult HIV infections with six million people exhibiting symptoms of the disease Since 25 of new cases are in between the ages of 13 to 20 years old this means that the teenagers of today who are HIV positive are the workers who will develop AIDS in 10 years In order to be successful into the future companies need to address HIV-infected workers and workers with AIDS However HIV and AIDS pose special challenges to employers HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the retrovirus that causes AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome While AIDS itself does not kill a person the disease weakens the persons immune system allowing other diseases like Kaposis sarcoma invade the body These opportunistic diseases eventually overwhelm the persons body The virus is found in blood and other body products like saliva sweat and tears and can only be transmitted by the exchange of blood body products or by sexual contact Once the HIV virus is exposed to air it dies instantaneously This means that someone cannot spread the virus through breathing the same air or by casual contact such as shaking hands A person can be infected if heshe has an open wound that comes into
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