Financial Times Profiles Response of Businesses to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
The Financial Times on Thursday profiled businesses' responses to HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS estimates that the workforce in the region could be reduced by as much as 30% as a result of the disease. In addition, a 2003 World Bank study said that the South African economy could collapse in four generations if nothing is done to address the epidemic. Although businesses in the region have started to respond to the problem, it is "only [the] beginning" according to the Times. For example, a World Economic Forum study released earlier this month said that although nearly two-thirds of companies in Africa expected AIDS to impact their profits over the next five years, only 12% had implemented AIDS policies. Many of the companies with AIDS programs said that the most significant challenge in implementing them has been the stigma associated with the disease. As a result, fewer than 10% of employees in many of the companies with treatment plans have undergone HIV testing. Private sector media companies, including BBC World Service and Viacom, have started to address stigma. "People always say that the initiative has to come from governments, which is largely true, but business has the capacity to do an incredible amount," MTV International President Bill Roedy said, adding, "We have the skills, the contacts, the distribution, the resources to do many things" (Dyer, Financial Times, 6/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.