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2005-05-21-26 GBC Member Companies Plan To Implement Nondiscrimination Policies, HIV/AIDS Campaigns for Chinese Workplaces
Twenty-six member companies of the... Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS on Wednesday announced that they plan to implement in their Chinese workplaces nondiscrimination policies for HIV-positive employees and promote HIV/AIDS initiatives in communities where they operate, China Daily reports (Xiaofeng, China Daily, 5/19).
The announcement came in response to a request from Chinese health officials for nongovernmental organizations and companies in the country to increase their role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Chinese Vice Premier and Minister of Health Wu Yi in March at a summit on business and HIV/AIDS in China said that the fight against the disease cannot be won by the government alone and that businesses should help their employees to receive testing and treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/21).
The companies have pledged to implement the policies before World AIDS Day 2005, on Dec. 1. GBC Executive Director Trevor Neilson said businesses must protect HIV-positive employees and that no one should be "unfairly" denied employment because of their HIV status, according to China Daily. "Business sector involvement on HIV/AIDS in China is extremely limited so far, and our work is just beginning," GBC Director of Policy and Research Priya Bery said, adding, "Our goal is to encourage more business action against AIDS in China through the GBC's work." Some companies have announced additional programs to promote public health (China Daily, 5/19).
The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 of those people have AIDS. However, international experts and advocates say that the actual number of HIV-positive people in China probably is between one million and 1.5 million. UNAIDS has said that the number of HIV-positive people living in China could increase to 10 million by 2010 unless steps are taken to address the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/12).