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‘AIDS in the Workplace’ Program

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippines witnessed a sharp increase in the number of diagnosed HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cases in the last three years. Majority of these recorded cases belong to the economically-productive age group.

According to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral

In 2000, an average of one new case is diagnosed every three days. In 2007, it rose to one new case per day. Last year, there were two new cases diagnosed in a day

Due to the rising trend and because most infections can be found among economically-productive individuals, Health Secretary said that the business sector is in a position to help curb the rising trend in HIV infections by setting up policies and programs in the workplace. This program is also in consonance to provisions in Republic Act 8504 or the AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.

The health chief added that HIV/AIDS programs in the workplace is a vital response because the disease increases business costs like increased burden of healthcare provision, lower productivity of infected employees, loss of skilled workers, increased risks in the workplace and indifference among employees.

Few companies led by Chairperson of Shell companies in the Philippines Ed Chua has taken the role of being the ‘Business Champion for Health of the Philippines to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.’ As a result, several companies had signified their interest to establish ‘AIDS in the Workplace’ program.

Organizations that support the ‘AIDS in the Workplace’ program include Philippine Business for Social Progress, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, International Labour Organization, UNAIDS, and the Philippine National AIDS Council. A partnership agreement is envisioned to be drawn to describe the roles and responsibilities of each organization for this initiative.

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