Anglo American maintains HIV/AIDS leadership with commitment to extend treatment to dependants of employees
Anglo American will remain at the forefront of the fight against HIV and AIDS by committing to extend its leading workplace care, support and treatment programme to the dependants of employees.
This substantial commitment builds on what is already the world’s largest HIV / AIDS workplace voluntary counselling, testing and treatment programme, established when Anglo American became the first large employer in Southern Africa to provide free anti-retroviral treatment to employees in 2002. Reaching the dependants of all employees will be a considerable challenge, particularly where families live in remote areas, far from Anglo American treatment centres. Nevertheless, medical staff will endeavour to reach those most in need first and then broaden the base over time, such that all dependants enjoy the same level of HIV/AIDS care, support and treatment that is currently available to all our employees.
Furthermore, Anglo American has committed to extend voluntary counselling and testing to its contractor workforce and will endeavour to ensure that every HIV positive contractor can access a programme of care, support and treatment. Anglo American will also continue to make every effort to ensure that HIV positive employees leaving the company for whatever reason are supported in finding an alternative source of care, support and treatment.
Throughout Anglo American’s operations in Southern Africa, South America, China and the United Kingdom, employees are marking World AIDS Day by participating in further awareness raising initiatives. Furthermore, the President of COSATU, the largest trade union federation in South Africa, will carry out a public HIV test together with senior members of the Anglo Coal management team at the Anglo Coal Hospital in Emalahleni, Witbank, South Africa. Anglo American staff in London all received information about HIV/AIDS and were offered access to free confidential testing and counselling at their workplace.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of Anglo American and Chair of the Global Business Coalition on HIV & AIDS, said “”Important gains have been made in the fight against the HIV pandemic but it still remains one of the greatest threats to health in human history. It has taken a major toll on lives in Africa but it poses a growing threat in other countries. We are committed not only to addressing the epidemic amongst our workforce but also increasingly amongst dependants and affected communities.“”
Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said “Anglo American’s efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS are world class and we can be proud of the lead that we have taken amongst businesses worldwide. However, infection rates continue to climb in many countries within and beyond Africa, including in the UK, and we must continue to ensure that we spread our experience of tackling HIV/AIDS across our operations globally and to innovate in order to provide effective solutions within a confidential environment and with zero tolerance of discrimination.”
Anglo American plc is one of the world’s largest mining groups. With its subsidiaries, joint ventures and associates, it is a global leader in platinum group metals and diamonds, with significant interests in coal, base and ferrous metals, as well as an industrial minerals business. The Group is geographically diverse, with operations in Africa, Europe, South and North America, Australia and Asia. (www.angloamerican.co.uk)
Anglo American’s HIV / AIDS programme
* Anglo American has the largest workplace HIV testing and treatment programme in the world, with just over 3,000 HIV positive employees in Southern Africa on anti-retroviral drugs provided by the company.
* Anglo American was the first major employer (in 2002) in South Africa to provide free anti-retroviral drugs to its employees – a lead which other companies have increasingly followed.
* Anglo American has a global HIV policy based on a human rights framework involving zero tolerance of discrimination, the elimination of stigma, gender equality and assurance of confidentiality.
* Anglo American believes that it is important for individuals to know their HIV status so that they can make informed choices and have access to treatment in good time where this is needed. A key plank of the company’s HIV programmes is the encouragement of annual participation in Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). Amongst employees in South Africa, the rate of participation in VCT (which is offered annually) has risen from less than 10% in 2003 to 72% in 2007 and is expected to reach 75% in 2008, suggesting an increased willingness to confront the disease, a reduction in stigma and increasing confidence in the system. At its best performing mines, the participation rate exceeds 85%.
* The Group has instituted a health economics study of its HIV programmes in South Africa – which cost around $10 million a year. The study has shown that over a period of time the treatment programmes are becoming self-financing through reduced absenteeism, lower treatment costs for other opportunistic infections and savings in lost skills. 95% of those on treatment are able to continue with their normal work and to support their families for many years.
* Over 8,000 HIV positive employees in Southern Africa are on health monitoring and disease management programmes. Those in the later stages of HIV infection go on to anti-retroviral drugs, before they get sick with AIDS.
* Anglo American is involved in a large number of community HIV/AIDS prevention, education, outreach and treatment programmes in partnership with local government, community groups, trade unions and private health providers. Focus areas include extending access to HIV testing and treatment, comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents, sexual and reproductive rights and health, capacity building and the empowerment of women.
* Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of Anglo American plc, is also Chair of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS. Anglo American is particularly closely involved with supporting the GBC’s work in South Africa, China and the United Kingdom.
* Anglo American seeks to heighten awareness of HIV/AIDS in the countries where it operates. In a number of countries where it does not have the health infrastructure to deliver testing and treatment programmes within the workplace it extends employees’ private health cover to include anti-retroviral therapy.
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