Maintaining privacy and ensuring non-discrimination in the context of HIV/AIDS

Stigma as a barrier to participation in HIV testing
Applying core business competencies to the improvement of public health
Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC)
All (represents more than 200 member companies)
No. of employees:


The GBC is an NGO whose membership is entirely comprised of businesses - including a range of major multi-national enterprises. GBC aims to apply its members' core competencies to help improve public health. It focuses on the establishment of public-private partnerships, from the financing of actions carried out by other non-business organisations, to full collaboration through joint actions. GBC partners include national, regional, international and local NGOs, as well as UN agencies and government programs. Current initiatives include those relating to: HIV/AIDS testing, counselling and treatment; business support; health infrastructure; prevention programs; and project finance.

Further information:

Dilemma: Stigma as a barrier to participation in HIV testing

Fear of stigmatisation and discrimination acts as a significant barrier to people taking part in HIV testing - and, by extension, seeking treatment. This can be a particularly serious issue in the workplace, where such discrimination has the potential to compromise a person's career or even to lead to their exit - with significant consequences for the individual and their employer.

Good practice: Pledge to end HIV discrimination and stigma in the workplace

GBC launched an initiative seeking pledges from its members committing themselves to end HIV discrimination and stigma in the workplace. By signing this pledge, members committed themselves to:

  • Fighting HIV/AIDS discrimination and stigma in their workplaces
  • Ensuring their hiring, promotion and retention decisions are not influenced by an individual's actual or perceived HIV status
  • Taking prompt and meaningful action to improve their performance if it falls short of these goals
  • Using every opportunity to encourage other business leaders to make the same pledge1

The pledge is intended to act as a platform from which GBC and its members can use the strength and reach of members' brands to put the issue on the global business agenda.

Results: A public commitment from more than 100 companies

On World AIDS day on 1 December 2008, the pledge was signed by CEOs from 119 companies.2 These include a wide range of companies including (but not limited to):

  • Anglo American
  • AstraZeneca
  • BP
  • British American Tobacco
  • Chevron
  • Citigroup
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Daimler
  • De Beers
  • Debswana
  • Dell
  • Eskom
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Gap
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Heineken
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • LaFarge
  • Merck & Co.
  • Nike
  • Novartis
  • Pfizer
  • SABMiller
  • Standard Chartered
  • Total
  • Unilever
  • Volkswagen

The commitment is estimated to affect around five million employees around the world. It has also raised awareness of the issue of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination amongst its broader stakeholder community. This includes more than 500 business and global health leaders who attended the GBC Annual Conference in June 2009 and the Business Action Magazine's readership of 10,000. GBC is in the process of collecting data on concrete outcomes from these pledge commitments.