Alignment of a company's policies and programmees to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
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The HIV/AIDS epidemic affects everyone, every individual, every family, every social institution, every organisation and indeed every business, big or small. Although there are indications that HIV infection may be spreading faster among the underprivileged sectors of the population (poor, marginalised, uneducated, etc.), so far the toll among the urban young adult population has been higher. In South Africa it is estimated that as many as 1 000 people, mostly young people, are infected every day. The HIV/AIDS epidemic poses one of the greatest challenges to business development in Africa. The epidemic claims some of the best business leaders, managers and a great number of workers at all levels of the production system. HIV-related absenteeism, loss of productivity and the cost of replacing workers lost to AIDS threaten the survival of a number of businesses and industrial sectors in the increasingly competitive world market. HIV/AIDS does not affect only workers. By claiming a large part of the urban population with disposable income and by impoverishing families and communities, it also effects the market base of African business. It is clear that no one sector alone can make a significant inroad in the fight against the epidemic. A true partnership involving the government, the private sector and the community is essential to face the problem. The business community is realising that its very survival depends on how effectively it joins forces with other partners, how well it understands the legal issues, current statistics and economic impact of HIV/AIDS to face the problem. The workplace provides an excellent environment to implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS programme and policy reform.