Mining Firm Combats AIDS via Drug Plan
May 7, 2001
Anglo American PLC, a London-based mining conglomerate, said that it is making plans to provide AIDS drugs to about 50,000 South African miners and their spouses. The plan is still in the cost-analysis phase, with board consideration on May 14.Adapted from:
Anglo American will be the largest company to provide AIDS drugs to its workers in sub-Saharan Africa. The company has been profoundly affected by the AIDS epidemic, which has killed many of its workers, caused others to be absent from work and driven up medical costs. Of its 120,000 workers, 20 percent are assumed to be infected with HIV. Executives believe that providing the drugs will send a strong message to investors that Anglo is managing the epidemic.
The National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa has not agreed to the plan and, according to a union official, "is very skeptical" about HIV testing. The union is afraid that testing will lead to discrimination against its workers.
Activists are hoping that the initiative will push the South African government toward providing the drugs to its citizens. But South African Health Department spokesperson Jo- Anne Collinge said, "The scale on which even the mining industry is moving is much smaller than what government would have to do." So, she said, it is "false" to think that the "government must mirror what the private sector is doing."
Anglo American has a 53 percent stake in the world's largest gold-mining company, AngloGold Ltd., as well as 32 percent of De Beers, the largest diamond mining company.
Wall Street Journal; 05.07.01; Mark Schoofs
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.