Indian Businesses Must Contribute More to HIV/AIDS Fight, Opinion Piece Says
The Indian business industry -- which, "barring a few exceptions, ... has been slow to step up and contribute" to the HIV/AIDS fight -- must increase its efforts to curb the epidemic "not just because it is in a position to make a big difference, but because defeating AIDS surely is also good business," Ashok Alexander, director of Avahan -- the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's program to fight HIV/AIDS in India, writes in an opinion piece in India's Business Today. The staff at Avahan, which is largely comprised of people with business experience, has found many "striking" parallels between best practices for businesses and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, including the ability to execute "sound strateg[ies]," listen to consumers, expand markets, focus regionally and adapt and evolve, Alexander writes. The group recommends businesses at a "minimum" should create HIV prevention and education programs for their employees, he adds. Business leaders should extend HIV/AIDS programs to their communities; use their "supply chains" to provide HIV/AIDS information; use their expertise to enhance HIV prevention programs; and "speak out to dispel stigma, combat discrimination, defeat apathy and to promote prevention and treatment access," Alexander says. "[B]usiness skills and assets can be the most potent weapon in the war against AIDS," he writes, concluding, "Rather than hope that HIV/AIDS does not affect your business, think about how your business can affect the outcome of HIV/AIDS in India" (Alexander, Business Today, 1/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.