Jun 27 2011
There are 1.3 million people in the United States alone living with HIV. 20% of them don’t know they have the virus. That’s one in five people who have HIV, but don’t even know it. Even now, 30 years after the epidemic began.
As a result, they’re not receiving life-saving treatment. And, they may be unknowingly contributing to the spread of HIV.
One reason why so many people don’t know they’re HIV-positive is geographic. If you live in a big city, it’s relatively easy to find a place to get tested. In small communities or rural areas, not so much.
Levi Strauss & Co. came to us at AIDS United to help address this issue for their employees in the United States – many who live in smaller communities. We worked with them to create an innovative partnership with local AIDS organizations. The goal: to help connect employees with the resources they need to manage HIV/AIDS at work and in their lives – even if they don’t live in a big city.
Starting today, June 27, National HIV Testing Day, Levi Strauss & Co. employees around the country will have access to HIV/AIDS education, testing and care in a new effort called HIVConnect. From our perspective at AIDS United, this effort revitalizes the HIV/AIDS in the Workplace effort in the U.S. – an effort that Levi’s® helped pioneer in the earliest days of the epidemic.
Together with local AIDS organizations and AIDS United partners, the company will train employees in workplaces around the country. This will ensure their colleagues can learn more about HIV/AIDS to fight stigma and discrimination, and protect themselves. And, most importantly, employees can connect to trusted organizations, ready to meet their needs, no matter where they are.
It seems like a simple approach, right? Just connect companies with NGOs so employees can learn more about the issue.
Unfortunately, we know from our work with local partners across the country that business partnerships to address HIV/AIDS in the U.S. are few and far between, particularly outside major metropolitan areas. With HIV/AIDS resources dropping in virtually every US community, what Levi’s is doing to reach employees is needed now more than ever.
At AIDS United, our mission is to end the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic, using all the tools at hand. This includes advocating at the local and national level, strategic grants, and working with organizations to build their capacity to serve.
We are very proud to be working with a company like Levi Strauss & Co., one that shares our vision of the end of AIDS in America – and that invests in the well-being of its employees.
Posted By: Mark Ishaug, President & CEO, AIDS United
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