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AIDS impact on business

Beijing, Sept. 15 (PTI): Indian businesses believe they will suffer in the next five years because of the AIDS pandemic, a World Economic Survey has found.

The country is home to the second largest number of HIV/AIDS afflicted people in the world after South Africa.

Fifty-six Indian businesses surveyed in 2004-05 expressed some concern over the impact of HIV/AIDS. Of these, 46 per cent report some current effect of the virus on their company, with 14 per cent reporting “serious effects”.

“When asked about expected future impacts, moreover, concern is slightly greater, with 50 per cent expecting an effect on the business in the next five years,” the WEF said in its first-ever survey of the Asian business response to the pandemic.

HIV/AIDS is causing more concern than both tuberculosis and malaria and although they believe the effects on the community will be greater than those on firms, Indian companies are slightly more concerned than others in Southeast Asia, said Business and HIV/AIDS in Asia: Pushing Back the Tide, released during the just-concluded China business summit 2005 here.

Indian firms are however confident that their responses to the disease will effectively limit its damage. Among firms with HIV/AIDS policies, 78 per cent believe those policies will be sufficient, with 43 per cent strongly confident.

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