4th April 2017
In April, the Elton John AIDS Foundation hosted a business breakfast at London’s Tate Modern which brought together representatives from over 50 global businesses that have an interest in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on their operations.
We began with a panel discussion, chaired by Tania Bryer of CNBC, in which Robin D’Alessandro, CEO of the Vitol Foundation, Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Lord Browne and Anne Aslett, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation discussed the unique role that business should play in the race to end the AIDS epidemic.
We highlighted the fact that global goods and services have a deep impact on the way people behave and interact with one another; global companies and their leaders can set a powerful example to combat the stigma of AIDS, and discrimination in the workplace is harmful to retaining the brightest and the best and economic success.
AIDS remains one of the greatest global killers, affecting up to 30% of the population in some countries. Over 35m people worldwide live with HIV and almost a million people die of AIDS each year. Whilst there have been enormous successes in expanding HIV treatment, countries which deeply stigmatise or criminalise those who are living with, or highly vulnerable to HIV still have dangerously expanding HIV epidemics. Russia now has the fastest growing HIV rate in Europe.
We called on all companies whose operations are severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic across the world to make a difference in the following ways:
1.To join us, as global energy company Vitol has done, by funding our work supporting HIV affected communities. We operate through a network of grassroots and national organisations across Africa, India, SE Asia and Ukraine and Russia. For instance, Vitol is funding our work in Mozambique where 21% of young women are HIV positive.
2. Enable employees to access remote healthcare. Ground breaking technology enables on-demand, real time health consultations for as little as $17 p.a. in some countries, overcoming the need to visit health services and, in the case of HIV/AIDS, avoiding the risk of being judged or exposed.
3. Encourage diversity. In many countries, people with HIV are stigmatised and those vulnerable to the disease such as gay men are at risk of prosecution, keeping many closeted. Companies can make sure they provide a safe and welcoming environment as embracing diversity adds to productivity.
To find out more about how your business can join us in our fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic contact Jamie Webb, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Elton John AIDS Foundation – Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (20) 7603 9996