Anglo Coal South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of mining company Anglo American, has been awarded the Business Excellence Award for Best Workplace Program by the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This award is for the company’s workplace program focused on tackling HIV and AIDS in South Africa and will be presented to Ben Magara, CEO of Anglo Coal South Africa tonight at an awards dinner in Washington D.C. The event will be attended by global health leaders including senior Obama administration officials and representatives from UNAIDS, The World Health Organisation and The Global Fund.HIV and AIDS is having a major impact on millions of lives in Southern Africa and Anglo Coal estimates that some 1,300 of its 9,300 employees in the region are currently infected with HIV. Anglo American says that “this award has been given in recognition of the ground-breaking work the company does in South Africa with its comprehensive HIV/AIDS response for both employees and their families.”All Anglo Coal employees are actively encouraged to test annually, with senior members of the management team taking HIV tests in public to lead by example. Employees who test positive can enrol in a free HIV management program offering care, support and treatment. As a result of this response, the company has seen mass employee engagement on this issue and 94% of permanent workers have been HIV tested since the program began. Anglo Coal is now hoping to have reduced the number of new infections to half what they were in 2005 by the end of 2009.“These awards are given to an elite group of companies who set the standard for excellence in business action to defeat disease,” said GBC President and CEO John Tedstrom. “They show what a business can do, and how to do it exceedingly effectively. We need more businesses to take this kind of action. The fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria cannot be won without the corporate sector stepping up and playing an active role – and Anglo American and, specifically, its Anglo Coal division is doing exactly the kind of thing that all companies can and should do. Anglo American doesn’t just talk, they take action. And their action saves lives.”Magara commented, “We have been dedicated to the issue of HIV and AIDS since the 1990s and thanks to great leadership, a simple, clear system with world class medical support and a passion amongst all our employees to tackle HIV and AIDS, we are making headway against this disease. We are incredibly proud of this recognition from the GBC and Anglo Coal continues to increase its efforts in this area, having recently extended our policy commitment to include the families of all our employees.”To ensure broader community awareness of the issues around HIV and AIDS, Anglo Coal has recruited and trained over 250 ‘peer educators.’ In addition, Anglo American will this year commit over $1.2 million to health and AIDS related services in disadvantaged areas of South Africa.The GBC awards recognise companies which have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, action and results, and have achieved exceptional success in putting their assets to work in the fight against what it terms ‘three of the greatest threats of our time.’Anglo American is South Africa’s leading private sector employer, with over 100,000 people employed at its operations. It was the first large company in South Africa to offer free anti-retroviral treatment to all employees back in 2002. There are currently 7,300 employees enrolled in the HIV disease management program across all group companies in South Africa.