The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a crisis of tragic proportions. Around the world some 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, according to December 2003 estimates by UNAIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa infection rates vary considerably within the region, showing that concerted action can make an impact.
We have adopted a comprehensive approach for employees to tackling HIV/AIDS comprising a proactive intervention strategy to reduce the number of new infections through effective early action and a programme to manage existing infections through comprehensive lifestyle management and treatment. In parallel, we seek to work with governments and non-profit agencies on outreach projects and programmes. Where the programme is being implemented, we conduct detailed knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) surveys to provide insights into existing behaviour patterns. This is followed by a vigorous ‘ACT’ campaign – awareness, counselling and testing. The aim is to achieve high levels of voluntary testing among employees, as this is the key that unlocks effective action, whether continued prevention or practical assistance for those infected. If tested positive, employees can register for managed healthcare. Fully funded by the company, it is operated independently to maintain confidentiality and includes lifestyle management and anti-retroviral (ARV) therapies for the individual and dependants.
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