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Protecting employees with HIV

In recognition of world AIDS day on 1 December Unilever reinforced its commitment to the care and protection of employees living with the disease in recognition of world AIDS day on 1 December 2011.

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In recognition of world AIDS day on 1 December Unilever has launched new global standards to reinforce its commitment to the care and protection of employees living with the disease and to help prevent new infections.

Getting to zero

The standards underline Unilever’s approach to prevent discrimination against employees based on their HIV status and to offer appropriate care and support when needed.

"Unilever is committed to 'Getting to Zero – Zero discrimination, Zero New Infections and Zero New Deaths with reference to HIV/AIDS' says Doug Ballie, Chief HR officer.

"Our global standards are based on the principle of treating HIV/AIDS like any other chronic disease and providing appropriate steps to combat it. On the occasion of World AIDS Day we reinforce our commitment to employee health and wellbeing."

Raising awareness

Unilever’s Medical and Occupational Health teams are also running an HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign across the business. A particular focus is on sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of infections.

According to Frank Braeken, EVP, Unilever Africa: "HIV/AIDS is one of the major threats to our continent, yet it is one thing that we can prevent, control and ultimately eliminate. Unilever is recognised globally as being leading edge in terms of its policy and approach to HIV/AIDS.

"We are committed to ensuring that employees who are living with the disease have access to antiretroviral drugs, are treated with respect and dignity, and have the knowledge to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease."

Activities across Unilever Africa include voluntary HIV testing, disease management registration, distribution of condoms, ribbons and educational booklets.

Continuing efforts

Speaking on the importance of the new standards, Dr. Thirumalai Rajgopal, VP, Global Medical and Occupational Health says: "While the number of infections and AIDS related deaths are coming down globally, we cannot take our foot off the pedal and must continue with our efforts in spreading awareness, ensuring voluntary detection is supplemented by antiretroviral treatment to help us control this condition."

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