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close this bookThe Business Response to HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2000, 79 p.)
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View the documentSTATEMENT FROM PETER PIOT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNAIDS AND JAMES WOLFENSOHN, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK JULY 2000
View the documentFOREWORD BY BILL ROEDY, PRESIDENT, MTV NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL CHAIR, GLOBAL BUSINESS COUNCIL ON HIV & AIDS UNAIDS AMBASSADOR
View the documentINTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsSECTION 1. THE CHALLENGE OF HIV/AIDS
Open this folder and view contentsSECTION 2. THE BUSINESS IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS
Open this folder and view contentsSECTION 3. THE BUSINESS RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS
Open this folder and view contentsSECTION 4. BUSINESS RESPONSE: PATHWAYS TO PARTNERSHIP ON HIV/AIDS
Open this folder and view contentsSECTION 5. PROFILES OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS
View the documentBACK COVER

STATEMENT FROM PETER PIOT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNAIDS AND JAMES WOLFENSOHN, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK JULY 2000

It is now two decades since the AIDS epidemic first emerged, and though we can point to some areas of the world where AIDS has been effectively addressed, the global impact of the disease is deepening.

The figures are grave. Today, there are more than 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world, the majority of whom live in the developing world. In 1999 alone, there were 5.6 million new infections. Those who are hardest hit by the epidemic are between the ages of 15 and 49, a time when people are in their most productive years of life.

In the worst affected countries, AIDS is single handedly reversing the development gains of several decades. In southern Africa, life expectancy at birth climbed from 44 in the early 1950s to 59 in the early 1990s. With the demographic impact of AIDS, this is expected to drop to 45 sometime between 2005 and 2010. The impact caused by AIDS has reverberated through every sector of the society, from health, to agriculture, education and the private sector, and is draining economies of the vital resources and contributions of a whole generation.

For the private sector, the implications of AIDS are felt both at the micro and macro level. The impact on the workforce is felt in greater absenteeism, high turnover and reduced productivity. At the macro level, AIDS affects the environment in which businesses operate, including markets, investment, services and education.

According to a survey of commercial farms in Kenya, illness and death have replaced old age as the leading reason for employees to leave service. Reports from a single company in Kenya, revealed that of 50 employees who died in 1998, 43 died of AIDS.

As this publication highlights, no business is immune from AIDS. But the private sector is also in a unique position to respond to the epidemic, because of its contacts with employees and the wider business community, and the wealth of experience and skills it has accumulated. As the publication also illustrates, there is much that businesses can do, and the benefits of action go well beyond the workplace.

Some of the actions taken by businesses include: promoting prevention and education; improving workplace policies to ensure rights for employees such as access to health care and counseling; giving grants to AIDS service organisations; and encouraging other businesses to get involved. Businesses have also carried out broad programmes to reach out to customers and local communities through cause-related marketing and social investment initiatives. While the impact of these achievements has not been fully documented, there are signs that prevention in the workplace can help reduce levels of HIV infection.

Since the last edition of this publication, significant progress has been made and this is reflected in the growing number of achievements reported on. Nevertheless, there is much that still can be done, and the purpose of this publication is to provide guidance and tools that companies can use in designing their own programmes.

The AIDS epidemic today is unparalleled in the scale of devastation it causes, and it is clearly an issue that no one can address alone. Business is an essential partner in the response to AIDS, and it can and is making a difference.

Peter Piot

James Wolfensohn

Executive Director, UNAIDS

President, World Bank