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New Guidelines for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment Program in African Workplace

During the 34th Annual Global Health Conference Meeting here today, Merck & Co. Inc. announced the release of the 'Blueprint for Business Action on HIV/AIDS .' The Blueprint is an innovative tool developed by a predominately African advisory board specifically for African businesses to aid them in developing and implementing a comprehensive workplace program response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Merck is making the tool available for free to businesses as part of the Company's response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The Blueprint offers a step-by-step guide organized into seven modules, a specialized textbook providing additional details on how companies can implement an HIV/AIDS workplace program, and an economic impact software tool that conducts a cost/benefit analysis of an HIV/AIDS workplace program. The Blueprint is the first HIV/AIDS workplace guide to include a free economic modeling software package as part of a comprehensive approach aimed at influencing business to join the fight against HIV/AIDS.

'This blueprint provides modules for business of all sizes with clear, crisp and concise action points on HIV/AIDS programming,' said Emmanuel Alhassan, Special Advisor Public-Private Partnerships, Constella Futures Nigeria (working with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS in Nigeria).

Globally, the cumulative loss of labor force participants to HIV/AIDS reached 28 million in 2005. Without increased action across all segments of society, this figure could reach 48 million by 2010 and 74 million by 2015, 50 million of whom would be in Africa (ILO, 2004); yet, according to a 2003 UNAIDS study on the economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, a survey of companies with fewer than 100 workers showed that only 13 percent of the companies had a company policy in place to deal with HIV and AIDS.

'The future of African business, in the age of HIV/AIDS, will be bleak if employers do not immediately engage in tr
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