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SABMiller shows peer education key to tackling HIV

30 November 2010

SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, is celebrating the success of its peer education programme in its work to contribute to the reduction of HIV/Aids.

The company has built its capability to train employees as peer educators, and there are now nearly 1,200 across its businesses in Africa. This means there is an average of approximately one peer educator for every 15 employees in Africa. In Uganda the ratio is one educator to every seven employees and in Mozambique the ratio is one to nine.

At Kgalagadi Breweries in Botswana two of the peer educators, Leso Rankgabo and Peggy Bile, have disclosed their own HIV positive status and use it to demonstrate to colleagues and the wider community the importance of testing and treatment and that it is possible to live a productive, healthy life with HIV.

In addition to working with employees, many of SABMiller's businesses are extending their HIV/Aids education and awareness to include the wider value chain. In Uganda, Nile Breweries Limited (NBL) already works with small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers, truck drivers and even the bartenders who sell its products. The programme includes awareness and prevention education, counselling and testing and the provision of anti-retroviral therapy as needed.

Its newest initiative is to extend the HIV programmes to offer counselling and testing to couples in their homes. Launched in March 2010, the programme is being conducted in seven villages and aims to reach 4,500 people in 12 months.

The stigma and fear associated with HIV/Aids can often make discussions with spouses and dependants extremely difficult, but disclosure is critical to ensure family members receive testing and, if necessary, treatment.  Whilst 92% of Nile Breweries' HIV positive employees are on a managed healthcare programme, it is far harder to access their spouses. In the last two years, only 22% of employees' spouses have undergone testing and counselling, compared to 94% of employees. Testing couples together can help to address this discrepancy, particularly when the service is offered to people in the familiar surroundings of their own homes.

So far, 4,000 people have registered to take part, representing more than 80% of the total population of the area. The programme was also commended by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids as an example of best practice in its 2009 Supply Chain Engagement Awards.

A number of Nile Breweries' peer educators have received additional training to act as ‘motivators' for couples; encouraging them to take advantage of the service, providing counselling and coordinating with the healthcare professionals.

ENDS

Notes to editors

SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch, as well as leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the world's largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.

In the year ended 31 March 2010, the group reported US$3,803 million adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$26,350 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

Ten Priorities. One Future. Through our Ten Priorities for sustainable development, SABMiller will make a difference both locally and globally to enhance the One Future that we all share. A robust approach to sustainable development underpins our ability to grow and our licence to operate. Furthermore a well-managed growing business is good for wider economic development, leading to greater employment and  investment in local economies and communities.

Bianca Shevlin
Corporate Media Relations Manager
SABMiller plc
t: +44 207 659 0172

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