The International concern on the cure for the deadly diseases HIV/AIDS has been on the increase, but the problems also surrounding the diseases been on the increase. Better controls must put in place to see that funds are being used efficiently.
The corporate sector is just beginning to wake up to the risks posed to business operations by HIV/AIDS and has still to awaken to its wider responsibilities, which arise from its influence over the conditions that encourage HIV/AIDS prevalence and undermine possibilities for mitigating its effects. The Global Community policy on HIV/AIDS is to ensure more companies are not only waking up to risk but also taking responsibility for socioeconomic conditions that influence people at risk from, or living with, the virus.
In regards to the Global Community Overal Picture concerning the corporate sector and HIV/AIDS:
* Twenty-one per cent of the 100 largest TNCs reported that they have policies or programmes on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
* Thirty-nine per cent of the websites of the 100 largest TNCs mentioned HIV/AIDS, but only 11 per cent had easily identifiable information specifically relating to workplace policies or programmes.
* In South Africa, 60 per cent of the 25 largest corporations reported that they have policies or programmes in the workplace. Eighty-one per cent of the responding companies have HIV/AIDS policies and programmes in their companies at both group and subsidiary level, while 13 per cent are in the process of taking such policies and programmes from their subsidiaries to group level.
* In Brazil, where the impacts of HIV/AIDS are less than South Africa, we find that fewer companies are taking action. Fifty-two per cent of the 25 largest companies reported having a workplace policy or programme on HIV/AIDS. This is 76 per cent of the responding companies. A further 12 per cent said they are developing policies and already have some level of prevention and support activities occurring in the work setting.
* In the Philippines, where HIV/AIDS prevalence is currently low, only 16 per cent of the 25 largest corporations have a workplace policy or programme on HIV/AIDS. This is 25 per cent of responding companies. The majority of respondents stated that they have no reason to have any policies or programmes.
* There is a wide variation in the specific HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation components of these corporate policies and programmes, and the extent of coverage provided to employees and their dependents.
* Communities, suppliers and subcontractors are rarely covered by policies and programmes, even though most company respondents consider that HIV/AIDS—and the risks it poses to their workplaces and other business operations—must be tackled beyond the workplace.
* Most companies do not consider how their normal operations and strategies affect poverty, and thus HIV/AIDS.
The limited scope and scale of corporate action on HIV/AIDS suggests that enthusiasm within the United Nations system, bilateral and multilateral development organizations, and international NGOs, for the voluntary role that business is playing and can play in the fight against HIV/AIDS needs to be tempered with an awareness of the current lack of wholesale and comprehensive engagement on this matter by even the largest companies, and even in the most affected areas, such as South Africa.
However, one possible route forward emerges from the analysis, involving the financial community. The argument is made that HIV/AIDS may pose significant risks to current and future corporate financial performance, so that the financial community should increasingly be interested in whether the companies they invest in are attuned to that risk and managing it accordingly. Moreover, it is argued that this risk cannot be managed effectively by individual corporate action, but requires an economy-wide response. Therefore joint action from the financial community may help institutionalize corporate responses, while sensibly extending the risk management approach to include the risks to economies and societies as a whole.
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