August 12, 2002
De Beers plans to offer to pay for 90 percent of the cost of AIDS medicine for its 11,000 employees and their spouses. The company estimates that 12 percent of its workers are infected, and the program would cost about 25,000 rand ($2,500) for every employee who takes up the offer. The program is expected to begin in January.
The South African government has come under strong international criticism for its AIDS policy. It continues to resist providing pregnant mothers with an inexpensive medicine to prevent the transmission of the virus to their children, despite a court order to do so. The government maintains that the program is too expensive for a poor country. An estimated 4.7 million South Africans are infected with HIV.