Panelists Urge Businesses in Africa To Support HIV-Positive Employees, Women To Get Tested
Businesses in Africa should support HIV-positive employees, and more women on the continent should receive HIV tests and empower themselves with knowledge about HIV/AIDS, panelists at a Pan-African leadership summit in Cape Town, South Africa, said recently, allAfrica.com reports. The conference -- called "Vital Voices of Africa," and organized by the Washington, D.C.-based Vital Voices Global Partnership -- aims to develop an action plan to address HIV/AIDS in Africa. The conference also aims to address other issues, such as trade, economic development, good governance and violence against women. At the opening session of the conference, Joelle Tanguy, managing director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said that 90% of HIV-positive people in Africa are unaware of their status. Grietjie Strydom -- former director of Alexander Forbes Health Management Services in South Africa and a panelists at the conference -- said that HIV/AIDS is having a large impact on South Africa's economy. She added that it is financially more beneficial for companies to provide treatment for HIV-positive employees than to not provide treatment. "The private sector thinks that the government is helping" people living with the disease, but this often is not the case and companies should be encouraged to provide support for HIV-positive employees, she said. According to Strydom, HIV-positive people also need psychological therapy and mental and emotional support. According to Miriam Were, chair of the National AIDS Control Council in Kenya and panelist at the conference, there are more women than men living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. She suggested that a fund be created to provide money and support to women living with HIV/AIDS (Hendricks, allAfrica.com, 1/16).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.