Recommendations: - Take early decisive action on prevention before the epidemic gets out of control. This strategy pays off for companies. - Better monitoring and evaluation will help in planning and implementing programs, in identifying gaps, and in sustaining, scaling up, and expanding initiatives. - Continued financing is especially essential for treatment programs, which, once initiated, must not be interrupted.
Businesses have an enormous stake in the fight against HIV and AIDS, an epidemic that affects their workforce and, if left unchecked, can rob them of their workers and their markets. This report present case studies on how businesses can gain from supporting interventions aimed at preventing HIV both at the workplace and in local communities—and from taking early decisive action while there is still opportunity to prevent a generalized epidemic. Businesses bring critical advantages to these efforts, including management skills, resources, and influence over the general workforce. The executive summary also highlights some key recommendations for businesses engaged in HIV and AIDS programs. A monitoring and evaluating program is critical to evaluating effectiveness and must be an important consideration from the beginning of the initiative. Ensuring sustained financing is also essential for the continued success of the program, since discontinuation may be detrimental particularly for treatment programs that cannot be interrupted.
Indian businesses have become an important stakeholder in the fight against HIV and AIDS. A large share of the country’s HIV-positive population are employed by Indian industry. This introductory chapter outlines how businesses can gain from early decisive action to prevent HIV and AIDS, what advantages businesses bring to the fight, and how the Indian government supports companies involved in HIV and AIDS interventions.
Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest private company, set up a well-equipped medical center near its industrial site in Hazira, Gujarat, where it provides both tuberculosis and AIDS treatment. Since inception of Reliance’s HIV and AIDS program in 2004, company physicians and local NGOs have together reached nearly 300,000 people through awareness initiatives, testing and counseling services, and antiretroviral therapy.
Case Study: Transport Corporation of India Limited
Transport Corporation of India (TCI), recognizing the importance of truckers to its business and the vulnerability of the trucking community to HIV and AIDS, established a network of clinics along national highways. The project sites were selected to reach a target group of approximately 1.4 million long distance truckers nationwide. Operated by local NGOs, these clinics serve long distance truck drivers and their assistants, providing treatment for sexually transmitted infections and counseling services aimed at preventing HIV.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, a public sector company, is constructing the metro rail system in Delhi. This enormous construction project draws migrant workers, a population typically at high risk for HIV infection, from across India. DMRC initiated an HIV and AIDS program for these workers that included advocacy, peer education, and promotion of condom use. This nine-month program reached more than 3,000 workers. The company has ensured that the efforts will be extended: its agreements with contractors now require that they carry out HIV prevention activities for employees working on DMRC projects.
DCM Shriram Consolidated Limited, a company with interests mainly in chemicals and agribusiness, initiated an HIV and AIDS program at its plant in Kota, Rajasthan, aimed at providing a safe and healthy work environment. The program draws on the local culture, adapting information, education, and communication material to local sensibilities and using cultural performances to convey HIV and AIDS messages. This strategy has helped broaden the appeal of its messages and gain acceptance for the program among the local population.
Hindustan Lever Limited, a fast-moving consumer goods company with more than a hundred manufacturing plants across India, has initiated workplace programs aimed at protecting the health of its skilled young workforce. With technical assistance from the International Labor Organization, the company’s factories have built HIV and AIDS awareness programs into their health and safety training. HLL has also used its expertise in distribution and management to spread HIV and AIDS awareness through initiatives with rural entrepreneurs. And in the future it plans to further extend its HIV and AIDS program through its distribution network.