Business is playing an increasingly important role in the fight against HIV/Aids in South Africa.
The SA Business Coalition on HIV/Aids (Sabcoha) lobbies and partners with the government, spearheads research and pilots best practice in Aids workplace programmes, and empowers companies to respond effectively to the epidemic.
With a membership base of over 40 corporates, around 10 large companies and more than 50 small companies and service providers, Sabcoha responds to the needs of South African business in its responses to the epidemic.
Aids and the bottom line
HIV/Aids has a significant impact on business, not only causing costs to escalate and markets to contract, but also damaging the societal wellbeing essential for a healthy economy.
While many would argue that business has a moral responsibility to help tackle the worst health crisis the world has seen since the Black Plague, there is also the matter of the bottom line.
For anyone doing business in South Africa, 10-40% of the workforce is likely to be infected with HIV. But the impact and potential impact of HIV/Aids varies greatly from one company to the next. Labour and capital-intensive industries, as well as those with high labour mobility, are most affected.
Research shows that if companies invest in prevention and treatment programmes, the savings outweigh the costs. Providing care and treatment for HIV-positive employees can reduce the financial burden of HIV/Aids by as much as 40%.