Jul 26 2012
Progress. In a word, that’s what this year’s International AIDS Conference is all about.
This year, for the first time, scientists can see the real possibility of the end of HIV/AIDS in our lifetime.
Progress is also the reason why the conference is being held in the United States, after more than two decades of being held oversees. You see, until recently the U.S. did not allow travelers with HIV to enter into the country, under a ban imposed in 1987. The U.S. government lifted the ban in 2010.
Now, it’s our turn to carry the baton of progress.
Levi Strauss & Co., in partnership with UNAIDS, GBC Health, and other organizations, led a CEO pledge calling on 46 countries to lift travel restrictions for people living with HIV. Our President and CEO, Chip Bergh, became the first CEO to sign this pledge.
Today, CEOs from 24 companies, including Aetna, The Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, H&M, Johnson & Johnson, Kenneth Cole, the NBA, and Virgin Airlines have joined this “call to action” to end this discriminatory practice. We believe that businesses can help influence governments to do the right thing and lift the ban.
In today’s global marketplace, our best talent needs the freedom to travel where their skill-sets are needed. And, we value our people; we know that forcing an employee to reveal HIV status is unjust, especially when it has no bearing on job performance.
Most HIV-related travel restrictions were imposed by governments in the 1980s, when fear surrounded HIV transmission. Since then, we’ve seen that such measures don’t protect public health. They’re simply unfair. And they’re bad for business.
Earlier this week, I had the honor of participating in an International AIDS Conference satellite session on HIV Travel Restrictions: Latest Developments co-hosted by UNAIDS and the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It was at this session that the Republic of Korea announced that it will lift its HIV travel restrictions. We hope the 45 remaining countries will follow this lead.
We’re proud to be part of the way forward when it comes to lifting travel restrictions on those living with HIV. It’s just one of the ways we’re contributing to this year’s International AIDS Conference, whether it’s sharing our vision of the future through our new AIDS Memorial Quilt, supplying HIV/AIDS training materials to businesses adapted from our programs or advocating on behalf of those living with the disease.
Posted By: Helga Ying, Governmental Affairs & Public Policy, Levi Strauss & Co.
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