Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
AngloGold Begins Distribution of Antiretrovirals to HIV-Positive Workers
AngloGold, South Africa's largest gold mining company and a subsidiary of British mining company Anglo American, on Wednesday began distributing antiretroviral drugs to a few of its HIV-positive employees, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 11/14). As the "first step" in Anglo American's plan to distribute the drugs free of charge to all HIV-positive staff in Southern Africa, AngloGold on Wednesday gave three of its HIV-positive employees the treatment. According to the Financial Times, AngloGold plans to expand treatment availability to 100 workers by March 2003 and to 800 by the end of next year (Lamont, Financial Times, 11/15). Although AngloGold officials estimate that 25% to 30% of its 40,000 employees are HIV-positive, it estimates that not all employees will want to be tested for HIV and that not all HIV-positive workers will need antiretroviral treatment immediately. The company, which announced the proposed treatment plan in July, anticipates that the drugs will prolong the working lives of staff and could "contain future AIDS-related expenses." AngloGold said that HIV/AIDS is currently costing the company approximately $4 to $6 per ounce of gold produced but added that not treating HIV-positive workers would raise the cost to approximately $9 per ounce. Bobby Godsell, AngloGold CEO, said that he hoped "[f]or society's sake" that other companies would carry out similar treatment programs. According to Reuters Health, the company could not estimate the total cost of the program (Reuters Health, 11/14).
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