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The battle against HIV/AIDS, in its new avataar, has moved to the next level. Following a public-private partnership approach, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) on Friday signed an MoU with Bilt and ACC to supply free anti-retroviral drugs to their ART units. NACO also released its operational guidelines for an ART centre, including the manpower requirements and the necessary training, to help companies set up such centres.

What’s more, India Inc is training employees to conduct HIV/AIDS awareness sessions at the workplace. HLL, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, SRF group, Bilt, Apollo Tyres and Transport Corporation of India are some of these companies which have partnered the International Labour Organisation (ILO), whereby the ILO trains the companies’ employees on disseminating information about HIV/ AIDS at the workplace. Not only that, corporates are educating truckers about HIV/ AIDS prevention, control and care at their factories and have also tied up with the state AIDS control societies for awareness sessions.

Corporate conglomerates such as Ballarpur Industries, ACC Cements and Godrej have joined hands to fight against the disease under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a leading industry body that has been spearheading the cause with its AIDS awareness campaign.

‘AIDS is already a national crisis and we had in place an ‘AIDS in the workplace’ initiative. However, for a long time, we had been planning different HIV/AIDS initiatives to have a larger impact,’ Gautam Thapar, Ballarpur Industries’ chairman, said at a conference here Friday.

According to Arvind Pathak, business head (south-west) of ACC, the firm has built its own AIDS awareness centre.

The CII, in partnership with the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), has also developed a smart health card.

According to the CII, India Inc is now much more aware about the disease and its social consequences.

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