Extending HIV/AIDS research

21 August 2006

HIV/AIDS Coordination - UCT (HAICU) and the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) have launched a joint initiative that brings Western Cape businesses together to discuss best practices in dealing with the disease and its prevention in the workplace.

A series of BizBrunches, discussions held over brunch on a chosen topic, will give companies a platform to share ideas and information on effective ways of implementing their HIV/AIDS policies.

Besides co-ordinating the brunches, HAICU also plays a pivotal role in disseminating information to corporates who then have the responsibility of educating their workforce and the community through their wider social responsiveness programmes.

"UCT produces a lot of research through its various faculties and institutes, and HAICU saw an opportunity to provide the latest information to businesses in the Western Cape through the BizBrunches," says Sean Brown, HAICU project officer.

The first event, which was held on July 26 at the Graduate School of Business, was well-attended with the panel of prominent speakers proving to be a popular draw card.

Clem Sunter (Anglo American), Ivan Thoms (Cape Town City Health) and Sipho Mthathi (Treatment Action Campaign) spoke on the topic How Can Businesses Respond to HIV and AIDS.

Among other outcomes of the discussions was the call for companies, including small- and medium-sized businesses, to be more creative and original in their HIV/AIDS initiatives to capture the public's attention.

The tik abuse problem in the Western Cape was also highlighted as exacerbating the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.

SABCOHA was created in 1999 to work with the private sector to mobilise awareness and resources needed to address HIV and AIDS in the workplace and in the communities. Its collaboration with HAICU on the BizBrunches is an extension of its network to the Western Cape province, which will allow it to grow its partnerships strategically and respond effectively to regional HIV?/AIDS issues.

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