Global Treatment Update
The announcement said that the program would be rolled out during the coming year with treatment delivered from existing company-sponsored clinics. Dependents will not be covered by this first phase of treatment, although De Beers has said it will extend treatment to a single sex partner of a worker.
The announcement is a victory for activist and labor groups that had been pressing for treatment access. Their attention now turns to other large mining companies in the region, such as Gold Fields and Harmony, who are still resisting offering treatment to their employees.
On October 17, a Global Day of Protest has been planned to draw attention to Coke's fundamental obligation to implement comprehensive HIV/AIDS workplace programs and policies, which include treatment and care for infected workers and their dependents. Demonstrations are planned in the U.S., Thailand, South Africa, Morocco, and France. For more information: www.healthgap.org.
"We are the ones who are suffering, but we are not taking up leadership roles in the fight against AIDS," said Mohammed Farouk, coordinator of Nigeria's AIDS Alliance. "It is time we Africans got together to assert ourselves."
Among the group's goals for itself:
"Develop a community-based response to the AIDS pandemic in Africa that places PLWAs at the center and ensures the involvement of PLWAs in key decision-making processes that will affect their lives."
"Mobilize our communities, our political leaders, and all sectors of society throughout the continent to ensure access to ARV treatment for all who need it, starting with the immediate implementation of the WHO goal to ensure ARV treatment for at least three million people in the developing world by 2005."
This article was provided by Gay Men's Health Crisis. It is a part of the publication GMHC Treatment Issues. Visit GMHC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.