Africa has only 10 percent of the world's population, yet it bears an estimated 75 percent of the global HIV/AIDS burden. One adult out of 12 is living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, compared to one out of 140 in North America and one out of 330 in Western Europe. The implications for Africa are vast: decreased life expectancy; devastating social costs; and reduced economic performance, in large part because of the disease's impact on businesses. The impact includes decreased productivity; increased operational and transitional costs resulting from loss of skilled and experienced employees; and increased costs of recruitment and training of new staff.
The Blueprint for Business Action on HIV/AIDS is a free user-friendly tool, available in English and French, and developed with the support of Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) by a predominantly African editorial board for use by African companies of all sizes - small, medium and large - in designing and implementing comprehensive HIV/AIDS workplace programs. Included in the Blueprint are:
- Seven modules that together comprise a step-by step comprehensive workplace program to assist African businesses in their response against HIV/AIDS.
- A textbook that provides background on HIV/AIDS and details about why a company should, and how it can, implement an HIV/AIDS workplace program.
- An economic modelling tool that will enable companies to analyze and illustrate the economic impact an HIV/AIDS workplace program would have on the bottom line.
- To ensure that more companies use the Blueprint and make the Blueprint known in more African countries
- To adapt the Blueprint for CEE countries where HIV/AIDS is becoming more and more a problem
The Blueprint has been adopted by more than ten national HIV/AIDS business coalitions as one of the basic tools in reaching out to the local business communities. The modules have been translated into some of the local languages, including Amharic and Swahili and local consultants were trained and certified to support small and medium-sized business operations in using the Blueprint. It is estimated that several thousands of African-based companies have used the Blueprint to assess their exposure and develop workplace programs adapted to their local situation.