While on a research trip to Kenya in 2005, I interviewed a medical doctor by the name of Ernest Mureithi at the Integrihealth Medical Clinic in Nairobi. Dr. Mureithi was hired by British American Tobacco (BAT) factories in Kenya to present one day seminars on health education that provided a full introduction to HIV/AIDS and included voluntary testing. According to Dr. Mureithi, about 80% of the participants in his seminars opted for voluntary testing. Four to five percent of those volunteers tested positive and were taken into the clinical program.
As you may know, voluntary testing is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS because it raises awareness, reduces stigmatization, and provides opportunities for counseling, education, and treatment. BAT profits by promoting HIV prevention and treatment among their workers (resulting in higher worker productivity and retention) while they also serve the greater good. On this World AIDS Day, I’d like to give a shout out to the many companies like BAT who promote HIV prevention among their workforce through education and voluntary testing.