Global Business Coalition President Encourages Businesses To Increase Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS, Other Diseases
Richard Holbrooke -- president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- on Tuesday called on companies to increase their involvement in the global fight against HIV and other infectious diseases, the Financial Times reports. Holbrooke also called on governments to recognize the skills the private sector could bring to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Holbrooke was speaking ahead of the coalition's annual awards ceremony, which was held on Wednesday (Jack, Financial Times, 6/13). Eight member companies were presented with awards (GBC release, 6/13). The awards for the first time included businesses working on projects to fight HIV, TB and malaria, the Times reports. At the ceremony, Standard Chartered was recognized for working with the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria's local country coordinating mechanism in Gambia to provide business management skills and for training staff and customers on HIV awareness. Standard Chartered also was recognized for promoting HIV testing messages on automatic teller machines in China and Thailand. HBO was recognized for airing documentaries, films and public service announcements that addressed issues associated with HIV/AIDS, the Times reports.
In addition, Marathon Oil received an award for its five-year, $13 million malaria control program on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea. The program, which funds insecticide spraying and drug treatment, was launched in 2003 in collaboration with public health experts and officials. Systematic monitoring has found a 95% reduction in mosquitoes and a 44% reduction in malaria cases among children since the program was launched, according to the Times. Marathon also has provided $1 million in seed money and helped the government with a $26 million grant application to the Global Fund to launch the program nationwide (Financial Times, 6/13). Other award recipients included Chevron, Coca-Cola China Beverages, Abbott and Abbott Fund, Eskom Holdings and Eli Lilly. GBC also presented an award to former President Bill Clinton for his leadership on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues (GBC release, 6/13).
HIV/AIDS PSA Campaign To Premiere in U.S. Ahead of National HIV Testing Day
In related news, the NBA, HBO, GBC, and Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday announced an HIV/AIDS public service announcement campaign they developed that aims to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing. The PSAs are scheduled to air in the U.S. during game five of the National Basketball Association's 2007 finals on ABC ahead of National HIV Testing Day, which is scheduled for June 27.
The campaign has enlisted actors Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah to raise awareness about HIV testing by directing viewers to testing411.org -- a Web site that includes information about HIV and testing options. The Web site also provides information from CDC about local HIV testing centers organized by zip code.
The PSAs also will be shown in arenas during NBA games in the 2007-2008 regular season. MTV and BET have committed to air the PSAs in the U.S. as part of their public education partnerships -- thinkHIV and Rap-It-Up. The Global Media AIDS Initiative will distribute the PSAs to more than 100 of its members in 60 countries, and the African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS have committed to distribute the PSAs to their member companies. The PSAs were featured at GBC's annual awards ceremony and grew out of a commitment made at the 2006 annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting, which was held in New York City last fall.
"Having Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and NBA players talking about HIV testing helps to present testing as a more routine part of care, as recommended by the CDC," Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, adding, "HIV testing provides an opportunity to receive counseling about risks, and early knowledge of HIV status helps link people to care."
NBA Senior Vice President Kathy Behrens said, "Through relationships with organizations like the GBC, the NBA, our teams and players are to build on our commitment to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, here at home and around the world." Richard Plepler, co-president of HBO, said, "HBO has a long history of using our network in the service of illuminating and elevating the issue of AIDS into our culture." Holbrooke said, "HIV is on the rise in the U.S. as it is around the world," adding, "Knowing your status is essential to bringing infection rates down and increasing access to lifesaving medications" (NBA/HBO/GBC/Kaiser Family Foundation joint release, 6/13).