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World's Businesses More Concerned about HIV/AIDS

A new survey shows businesses around the world have grown more concerned about the spread of HIV/AIDS and are willing to take more action to stop it.

The World Economic Forum polled almost 11 thousand business leaders in 117 countries. The survey is entitled “Business and HIV/AIDS: A Healthier Partnership?”

Francesca Boldrini is director of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Initiative. From Geneva, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua and compared this year’s survey results with last year’s. “

It’s interesting because there’s been an increase in the concern and it’s a nine percentage point increase. So, it’s gone up from 37 percent last year to 46 percent this year, so about half the businesses around the world, according to our survey, are concerned of the impact of the disease on their operations.”

Asked if the survey indicated reasons for the increase, Boldrini says, “They didn’t given an indication specifically about the increase, but they do do two things. First of all, they note the increase in the epidemic overall around the world. And then they pinpoint four areas that really motivate them to sort of take action, take notice, which are threats to the customer base, to their supply chain, to their workforce and prevalence in the country.”

She describes what action companies are willing to take to stem the pandemic. “What they tend to do is start by acting in the workplace. They’re really focusing on their employees. We recommend that they take seven steps.” Those steps are: assess the threat, develop a response, start in the workplace, link up with other partners, address stigma, look to the long-term and monitor and evaluate programs.

Asked whether companies are taking the action for altruistic reasons or the bottom line, Boldrini says, “Both.”