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Indian Inc not proactive to HIV/AIDS threat: study

India is among those countries where corporate bodies are by and large are not proactive vis-a-vis the threat of HIV/AIDS, says a global study.

'The private sector is a vital part of any cross-cutting //social partnership against AIDS,' the study states, underlining that 'continued action is therefore needed to convince companies of the role they can play in combating HIV/AIDS - and the rewards they will garner by playing it'.

The World Economic Forum's 2005 Global Health Initiative (GHI) 'Business and HIV/AIDS' says in its report that just seven percent of Indian companies expect any serious impact of HIV/AIDS on their operations. Another 18 percent expect some impact while 80 percent do not expect any impact.

The study is based on the responses of over 10,000 firm executives in 117 countries, including about 100 in India.

The report, authored by David E. Bloom, professor of economics and demography at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, had survey inputs from The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).

'Business is a powerful actor in all countries with serious HIV/AIDS epidemics. The private sector as a whole is vulnerable to the macroeconomic consequences of the epidemic, while individual businesses face potentially serious impacts on their employees and markets,' it says.

'However, as this report shows, with some exceptions the private sector has yet to adopt a widespread leadership role in the response to HIV/AIDS.'

India has the highest number of HIV infections—estimated to be about 5.1 million—than any other country, barring South Africa.

'Although some businesses offer examples of best practice, they many lack the knowledge, will and capacity to respond effectively to the epidemic,' it states.

The study found that while some businesses have been successful in actually assessing the risk of HIV/AIDS to their organization and then putting formal policies in place, most ha
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