July 29, 2005
The Financial Times on Friday examined how South African companies are responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic by establishing devoted programs, encouraging counseling and testing and fighting the stigma associated with the disease. HIV/AIDS "poses a serious threat" to companies' operations because large numbers of HIV-positive employees can lead to high rates of absenteeism, early pension pay-outs and the continual need to recruit new staff to replace those who become too ill to work, the Times reports. UNAIDS estimates that the number of people in the country's workforce could diminish 30% by 2020 if actions to prevent the spread of HIV are not taken, which would have a significant impact on production. Although South Africa's large corporations are leading the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country, "it is unrealistic to believe that this alone will be enough," as many people affected by the virus live in rural areas and do not work for major companies, the Times reports (Mills, Financial Times, 7/29). More than five million HIV-positive people live in South Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/19).
The Financial Times on Friday also profiled the South African HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign, which is working to combat HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in the country (Financial Times, 7/29).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.