Multinational Companies Launch Coalition To End HIV/AIDS-Related Discrimination in Mexican Workplace
Eleven U.S-based corporations and one British-based company operating in Mexico on Tuesday launched the National Business Council on AIDS, which aims to eliminate HIV/AIDS-related discrimination in the Mexican workplace, the AP/Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The coalition was formed on Dec. 1, 2004, after a survey earlier in the year indicated that many top U.S. companies conducting business in Mexico already had anti-stigmatization and anti-discrimination programs in place and could share their experiences with one another and other Mexican businesses, members said at a news conference in Mexico City. The founding companies -- FedEx Express Mexico, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, Abbott Laboratories, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Productos Kraft, Ford Motor Company, Xerox Mexicana, Eli Lilly de Mexico, GE Internacional de Mexico, Banamex and the British company GlaxoSmithKline -- plan to involve in the project Mexican companies "of all sizes" and other foreign companies to build a membership of at least 50 Mexico-based businesses, according to the AP/New Mexican (Adams, AP/Santa Fe New Mexican, 2/15). The business council is being supported by USAID, Mexico's National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS and the HIV/AIDS advocacy groups AIDS Responsibility Project, AVE de Mexico and the POLICY Project, according to an AIDS Responsibility Project release (AIDS Responsibility Project release, 12/1/04). The United States has committed $2 million in 2005 toward HIV/AIDS prevention in Mexico, Mexico's El Universal reports (Mahabir, El Universal, 2/16).
Launch Ceremony Comments
"The companies here today are leading the fight against HIV/AIDS in the workplace, and we are proud to support their battle," U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said at the news conference, adding, "Public and private partnerships are critical in the fight against this deadly disease" (UPI/newkarala.com, 2/15). Adolfo Franco, USAID's assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, said it is "fundamental" for the coalition to "unite and create alliances with Mexican businesses" and not "just stick" with U.S. and international companies (AP/Santa Fe New Mexican, 2/15). Abner Mason, executive director of the AIDS Responsibility Project, said many Mexican companies "really want a workplace free of discrimination but aren't quite sure of how to do it." He added, "There's a lot of work ahead. But this is a good beginning. The governments of Mexico and the U.S. backing the effort gives us hope for how it will grow" (El Universal, 2/16).