Creating awareness’ on HIV and AIDS is just a click away

Saturday, 15 September 2012 00:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and Aids (LBCH) launched their revamped website ‘’ with information and updates to educate, inform and raise awareness on HIV and AIDS on the premise that there is still a high level of ignorance of the disease and that prevention is better than cure.

The event was attended by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Donglin Li.

LBCH’s current Chairman Dr. Kishu Gomes, Country Chairman for Chevron’s Sri Lanka business operations and CEO and Managing Director of Chevron Lubricants Lanka, said that the website was a need of the hour and would reach a wider audience of Sri Lanka’s workforce in the manufacturing, trade, export and tourism sectors.

“LBCH is committed to creating adequate attention on the pandemic among people which in turn greatly impacts economic growth of our country,” he emphasised.

This year’s campaign developed by Bates Strategic Alliance saw a symbolic bright red cushion inscribed with the words ‘Pass on Awareness, not HIV’ being passed among over 60 LBCH member corporates  representing Sri Lanka’s top industries, in a ‘passing the pillow’ initiative.

The cushion was passed among LBCH members; Chevron, Standard Chartered Bank, John Keells, DFCC Bank, Hatton National Bank, Etisalat, Brandix, Dialog, AMCHAM and Jetwing, each retaining it as a symbol of commitment towards a concerted effort to educate their employees on mitigating the threat of HIV and AIDS in the workplace and community. The ‘Pillow’ was passed on to other member companies too at evening events.

In recent years, HIV and AIDS have emerged as an issue which has a serious impact on the corporate environment which, if not addressed, will threaten workplace productivity. The projected cumulative loss of the labour force due to AIDS by 2015 is estimated to be a staggering 74 million, and it is crucial to note that, two thirds of new infections can be prevented through awareness.

The Sri Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and Aids (LBCH) comprises 67 of Sri Lanka’s top business organisations, which have joined forces and pledged their support towards this cause.

Since the organisations inception in 2007, LBCH has been instrumental in generating awareness to counter the spread of HIV and discriminatory practices in the workplace, by way of conducting awareness programs and workshops free of charge.

LBCH works on the principle that businesses must act responsibly when handling this sensitive issue by working towards creating an environment that is conducive for behavioural change amongst employees engaging in risk behaviours, eradicating the stigma and discrimination related to employment, as well as respect confidentiality amongst its employees, in order to establish a healthy work environment.

The organisation works closely with its members to conduct customised HIV and AIDS awareness programmes headed by professional trainers, establish policies in the workplace and linkages with local HIV service providers, and to improve access to information and services at the workplace. LBCH will also assist companies to implement the work place policy now passed in parliament.

In the long run, LBCH seeks to identify vulnerable subgroups in areas that are often difficult to access. The organisation will encourage businesses operating in such areas to join the coalition and raise awareness through the shared learning and skills of its members.