Businesses ‘Need To Act Now’ To Prevent Spread of HIV/AIDS in Russian Workplaces, Opinion Piece Says
The "potential threat" that HIV/AIDS "poses to the strength of the private sector" in Russia is "not as high on the corporate agenda" as it "should be," Daniel Kashnitsky -- an associate at Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- writes in a Moscow Times opinion piece. Ignoring the spread of HIV/AIDS in Russia could "significantly hamper the ability of companies to effectively" compete in the global market, Kashnitsky writes, adding that corporations can "protect themselves" by incorporating HIV/AIDS education and prevention into workplace health care programs.
According to Kashnitsky, the number of Russian businesses with HIV/AIDS-related policies has nearly tripled since 2006. However, only 15% have launched HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and only 10% have implemented policies to protect the rights of HIV-positive employees, Kashnitsky notes. Many business executives in Russia have not yet experienced the "direct impact" of HIV/AIDS because most employees living with the virus have not developed AIDS-related illnesses, Kashnitsky writes. He adds that a survey by TPAA and the Russian Managers Association found that 12% of respondents said HIV/AIDS has had a negative impact on their companies' competitiveness.
HIV/AIDS in Russia is a "ticking time bomb that, if left ignored, will explode in the next few years," Kashnitsky writes, adding that business executives "need to act now to help our employees remain healthy and disease free" (Kashnitsky, Moscow Times, 2/11).