By the late 1990s, we knew we had a problem.
Mining, with its reliance on the physical labour of young and old men, represented part of the worst-affected demographic in a sector that had been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
As a global mining company employing a substantial number of people, we had to develop an appropriate business response to HIV/Aids.
Many of us remember the early 2000s.
Those years were the most challenging: the scourge of HIV/Aids had reared its head internationally, placing enormous challenges on the global health system and calling on “big business” to shape a rapid and sustainable response.
Things have changed since then.
Infection rates have lowered – though far too many new infections persist – and governments, the private sector and civil society have pulled together to ensure global access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, and other care and prevention programmes.
From initiating what was once the world’s largest ARV treatment programme to building healthcare facilities for treatment and care, our 30-year pioneering efforts at Anglo American have held us in good stead.
But the work is not done.
Hence, we have partnered with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids to rally private sector peers, governments and individuals to sharpen their response to the epidemic.
Through the #ProTESTHIV global pledge campaign, we aim to ensure that 90% of people around the globe know their status – and that 90% of all infected people have access to ARVs.
A successful response to HIV/Aids starts with knowing your status.
Whether you are an employee in a large corporate and do not yet know your status; a civil society activist agitating for a healthcare system that is more responsive to the needs of HIV-positive people; or a business leader who has employees affected and infected by HIV/Aids, you have a responsibility to end Aids by 2030.
It is a bold aspiration for a big challenge.
But it is precisely the big challenges that push us to do more, together. We want you to add your voice in support of #ProTESTHIV.
Sangqu is the executive head of Anglo American in South Africa