Anglo American’s Employee Antiretroviral Drug Program Has ‘Disappointing’ Enrollment Levels, Company Says
Mining conglomerate Anglo American has said that a "disappointing" number of its South African employees have volunteered to be tested and treated for HIV infection under the company's antiretroviral drug program, Business Day reports (Fraser, Business Day, 6/1). The program, which the company announced in 2002, offers voluntary HIV testing and counseling and covers the cost of antiretroviral drugs for any of its HIV-positive employees in South Africa who do not already qualify for treatment under other medical aid programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/6/03). Although an estimated 25% of the company's workers are HIV-positive, only 1,500 have enrolled in the antiretroviral drug program, according to the company's recently published "Report to Society." The company estimates that about 30,000 of its 140,000 employees at some point will need antiretroviral drugs. The company's greatest challenge is encouraging employees to get tested for HIV, the report says. Employees who currently receive treatment through the program have experienced improved health status, with 80% to 90% returning to full-time work, Corporate Affairs Director Michael Spicer said. He added that if more people enrolled in the program, "we would have years of productive working life for a significant portion of our workforce, as opposed to people becoming sick, and the need to replace them and retrain." The company spends about $3,080 a year to treat each HIV-positive employee, according to Business Day (Business Day, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.