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Introduction

The lifestyle of a truck driver can often be very hard with grueling hours, long distances and prolonged loneliness. The trucking industry, faced with the challenges of rising fuel costs, safety and constant driver shortages, now faces an even deadlier threat from the impact of HIV and AIDS. Loneliness has encouraged many drivers, married or single, to find comfort on the side of the road. This is generally found in the arms of the sex worker. Many of these workers are driven by the high unemployment rates to provide a service that will place food on the table. The consequences are devastating, with STD•s and HIV/AIDS been spread from one truck stop to another without any discrimination.

The once stable industry of some 70 000 drivers is now challenged by the impact of poor health and shortened life spans on its driving workforce. The effects of HIV and AIDS can be felt in the constant search to replace lost drivers, either through high absenteeism or death. The result is trucks left standing, reducing the earning potential of the loads that they carry or worse still, driving once thriving transport companies to closure and inevitable job loss. The impact of driver health has an even darker side, with STD•s and HIV/AIDS finding their way into the lives of the woman these men engage with. This means wives, girlfriends, sex workers and other clients. This places families and especially woman at risk, as men, sometimes the only bread winner lose their jobs or don•t survive.



 

 

• Trucking Wellness 2008