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2005-05-16-More Companies Realizing Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS
As the economic impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic "becomes clearer," some large multinational corporations have realized that they "have to act" by addressing the disease in the workplace, the... Financial Times reports.
Of the approximate 38 million HIV-positive people worldwide, at least 26 million are of working age, meaning that the pandemic has been "devastating" in areas where it affects "huge swathes of the work force," according to the Times. Research by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS shows that gross domestic product falls 2% to 3% when HIV prevalence rates rise above 10%. "One of the terrible ironies of AIDS is that it kills people in the most productive years of their life,"
GBC Executive Director Trevor Neilson said, adding, "It affects not just work forces but companies that have supply chains in that country. There's a huge interdependence between industrial and emerging countries these days." Several corporations -- including Coca-Cola, Anglo American, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, BP and Chevron -- are addressing the issue among their employees by implementing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
Of the 200 GBC members, about 60% currently pay for employee HIV/AIDS care and treatment, and remaining members pay for prevention and education programs. However, there are more companies in the developing world "doing little," leaving many workers unable to access treatment or remain in their jobs, the Times reports (Plimmer, Financial Times, 5/12).