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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
South African auditors urge Aids reviews
Aids patient
Some 20% of South African workers are infected with HIV
South Africa's main accounting body is urging companies to disclose the impact of Aids on their balance sheets.

South Africa is thought to have the highest number of people with Aids in the world, and an estimated 20% of the workforce is infected with HIV.

Businesses in South Africa are being urged to set an example to the rest of the world in how to address the tragic problem.

"We need to give shareholders an idea of what impact the disease is having on their companies," said Graham Terry, vice-president of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).

The accounting body also hopes that greater disclosure will compel firms to take more action to help employees.

The calls come the day after a United Nations report warned that the disease was still spreading rapidly.

Co-ordinated response

Some companies, such as mining firms AngloGold and Gold Fields, have already taken the lead in assessing and disclosing the extent of the impact on their business.

Mr Terry is now calling for such practices to be adopted by all businesses.

Saica is working with the stock exchange to prepare guidelines that could see firms detailing the HIV/Aids-related expenses they incur on a year to year basis.

In a survey of 110 firms, consultants Deloitte & Touche found programmes to manage Aids in the workplace were poorly developed with no co-ordinated business response to the pandemic.

Ignoring the disease raises the risk profile of firms, warned Deloitte.

Stephen Crammer, head of Aids research at the Metropolitan Life insurance company, said: "If you're investing your money, you want to know what a company is doing to manage that risk."


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08 Apr 02 | Business
28 Nov 01 | Africa
27 Nov 01 | Africa
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