Businesses in Asia Should Take Action To Minimize Impact of HIV/AIDS, Survey Says
Companies in Asia should take action while HIV/AIDS prevalence is below 1% or risk having the disease erode their businesses, according to a World Economic Forum survey released on Friday, Reuters AlertNet reports (Reuters AlertNet, 9/9). The survey -- which was conducted by WEF's Global Health Initiative, in partnership with Harvard University, American Foundation for AIDS Research and UNAIDS -- found that the effects of HIV/AIDS on Asian businesses so far has been limited, with about two-thirds of companies saying that the epidemic has had a minimal impact on their revenue. However, some businesses are feeling the effects of indirect and direct costs, and some companies are implementing prevention and treatment initiatives to address the situation (WEF release, 9/9). Thirty-seven percent of the 1,300 companies in 15 countries in Asia polled for the report said they anticipated HIV/AIDS affecting their operations in the next five years; 30% said the disease already is affecting them; and 8% said the impact of HIV/AIDS is serious, greater than that of either malaria or tuberculosis. AIDS is a "dark cloud hanging over" Asia's economy, David Bloom, a professor of economics and demography at Harvard University School of Public Health, said, adding, "Now is the time to act to push back the tide of HIV in Asia." Businesses should learn more about AIDS and how it could concern them, combat the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, and form effective partnerships with governments and nongovernmental organizations to fight the disease, Bloom said (Reuters AlertNet, 9/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.