Socio-economic conditions, health status and employment among persons living with HIV/AIDS in France in 2001

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To investigate employment levels and identify barriers to work among persons living with HIV/AIDS in France in 2001, we conducted a cross-sectional study among HIV-infected patients seen in the hospital outpatient clinics of the two French regions most affected: Ile-de-France (IDF) and Provence–Alpes–Côte-d'Azur (PACA). Of the 840 outpatients included in the study, 58.8% in IDF and 46.8% in PACA were currently employed, and 28.1 and 47.8%, respectively, were receiving disability benefits. Among unemployed patients, 32.1% in IDF and 29.6% in PACA reported that they planned to (re)enter the workforce. Current and planned employment status were associated with characteristics indicative of the patients’ social and demographic situation before the HIV diagnosis (region of residence, educational level, HIV transmission group, age, nationality) and with their health status at the interview (HIV progression, HCV co-infection). Receiving disability benefits was negatively associated with plans to return to work. HIV-related discrimination at work was reported by 11.9% of the patients in IDF and 9.2% in PACA, and was not associated with occupational status. Thus, social interventions should seek to prevent patients, particularly the most socially vulnerable, from leaving their jobs at acute stages of their illness and should promote (re)entry into the workforce among unemployed patients.

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