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Why Chevron Fights AIDS

Keeping our workforce healthy is more than a responsibility--it's a foundation of our success.

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By Rhonda Zygocki 
Executive Vice President, Policy and Planning, Chevron

It was with great pride, and great hope, that Chevron joined thousands of people and organizations earlier this year at AIDS 2012, the 19th International AIDS Conference.

During the time I spent at the conference, I heard the same questions many times: Why is Chevron here? What role does an energy company play in the fight against HIV/AIDS? I welcomed these questions. They give me an opportunity to talk about the critical role everyone plays in the global fight against this epidemic, including Chevron, as well as the ways collaborative partnerships will lead to the elimination of AIDS.

Keeping our workforce healthy and productive is more than a responsibility - it's a foundation of our success as a company. So when HIV began to appear in our hometown of San Francisco over twenty-five years ago, we recognized the support our employees needed. We took action, and our very personal fight against the disease began.

In 1986, Chevron joined 13 other San Francisco Bay Area companies to promote HIV/AIDS education and confront fear and misinformation in the workplace. During the 1990s, as the disease continued to spread and threaten populations around the world, Chevron broadened its approach to ensure that our employees were equipped with life-saving knowledge in Angola and Nigeria. Then, in 2005, Chevron became the first energy company to establish a global HIV/AIDS policy that protected all employees from discrimination and provided training, testing, and access to treatment to them and their covered dependents. Through it all, our clinicians have worked tirelessly to fight HIV/AIDS in our workplace.

Some of our largest operations are located where the grip of AIDS is the strongest. We recognize that if we are to have a healthy business in these parts of the world, we need not only healthy employees, but healthy supply chains and healthy national economies as well. To achieve those goals, we need innovative public-private partnerships based on shared beliefs, common goals and long term commitment.

We took our fight into local communities and host nations by becoming the first Corporate Champion of the Global Fund in 2008. Today, our public-private partnerships reach across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and include the smallest local organizations to national health agencies.

In Angola and Nigeria, our company clinics have been implementing internal programs focused on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV for years with remarkable success. For eight years in Angola and 12 years in Nigeria, Chevron has had no reports of mother-to-child transmission of HIV among employee families. These healthy babies solidified our belief in an HIV-free generation.

We've now joined others that also want to make that belief a reality.

Last year, we pledged $20 million to the UN's mission to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015. Last week, we were proud to announce a new collaboration as part of that commitment with Pact, mothers2mothers, the Business Leadership Council (BLC) and the Global Fund--a partnership dedicated to the elimination of MTCT of HIV in Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa.

At Chevron, we believe that when we unite various perspectives, resources, and areas of expertise, we find the most innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. We know that everyone has unique advantages to bring to the table, and the fight can't be won without leveraging each of them.

In the Global Fund and Pact, we embraced existing relationships based on deep mutual respect. In mothers2mothers, we found a new partner that shared our experience and beliefs. In the BLC, we found business leadership. In UNAIDS and PEPFAR we saw goal-oriented government leadership aligned with national plans. We look forward to marking our progress together in the years to come.

The International AIDS Conference embodied partnership and collaboration. Individuals, non-profit organizations, medical practitioners, representatives of governments, and companies from the private sector joined together in Washington, D.C. with the same vision: to create an HIV-free generation and eliminate AIDS around the world. We drew from each other not only inspiration, but best practices, fresh ideas, and new collaborations.

Above all, we returned home with a renewed understanding that if we work together as a global community to meet our shared goals, AIDS is going to lose.


Note: This article was originally published on Aug 01, 2012 at http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/why-was-an-energy-company-at-aids-2012/


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