Anglo American improves lives of South African employees through HIV prevention and treatment campaigns

Organization Name: Anglo American
Organization Website:
Region: Africa
Social Issue: Health and Nutrition
Level of Shared Value: Cluster/Local Operating Environment
Initiative/ Project Description:

Anglo American employs almost 100,000 people through its mining operations in South Africa. Due to the high prevalence of HIV infections in the country, about 16% of Anglo American’s workforce is HIV positive. Recognizing the toll this disease takes on the lives of its employees and their families, as well as Anglo American’s workforce and business, the company introduced a comprehensive program in 2002 that encompasses prevention, care, support and treatment. Awareness, education and prevention campaigns focus on combating the spread of HIV. The company offers voluntary counseling and testing so all employees can know their health status. Those who test positive receive free nutritional supplements and anti-retroviral treatments for themselves and their dependents. Confidentiality is protected to support the company’s strict, no discrimination policy. The program is the first of its kind in South Africa, and the world’s largest workplace program for the prevention, counseling, voluntary testing and treatment of HIV.

Social Results:

Evidence of the positive impact of this program exists in the New Vaal colliery, a mining operation situated on the banks of the Vaal River in the Maccauclei area in the Free State Province of South Africa. Of the 1,700 Anglo American employees who work in this area (which has an HIV infection prevalence rate of 32.5%), 90% have been tested for HIV. Zero new infections were recorded between 2012 and 2013. Throughout the program’s tenure, 82% of employees check their HIV status annually, and 4,730 employees currently receive free anti-retroviral treatments and are enrolled in the HIV wellness programme, where Anglo American aims to ensure that its people can live healthy lives.

Business Results:

The decision to make HIV treatments available to its employees was influenced by the company’s investors, who had second thoughts about putting money into a business that might not survive with the burden of disease. The savings to the company emanate from reductions in benefits, absenteeism, training and recruitment of new employees, and inpatient and outpatient medical costs. According to Anglo American Chief Medical Officer Brian Brink, “You can turn around what was once a huge threat into something that is entirely manageable.”