De Beers has announced that it will provide anti-retroviral treatment to its workers, a response to the high rates of AIDS infection in South Africa and Botswana. The company estimates that as much as 12% of its workforce is HIV positive.
The program will begin in January 2003. De Beers will pay 90% of the expenses associated with the program, with participants expected to pick up the other 10%. There also will be a global treatment program available to employees’ spouses or life partners.
Anglo-American, the mining conglomerate that is one of De Beers’ owners, has instituted a similar program for its workers. Nearly one quarter of Anglo’s employees are said to be HIV positive.