Vietnam’s workforce is threatened by HIV/AIDS. The country’s epidemic is growing rapidly, particularly among younger people. As in every country, businesses must be a part of a true multisectoral response. Colgate-Palmolive has a history of award-winning wellness programs for employees, and had established HIV/AIDS policies in its sub-Saharan Africa offices, but had done little in its significant Asian holdings. As was noted in an annual report, “With over 5.5 million reported AIDS cases in India, China, Thailand and Vietnam, it is clear that the Company’s efforts must expand into Asia as well.”
The Emergency Plan-supported SMARTWork (Strategically Managing AIDS Responses Together in the Workplace) project has supported the company in meeting the challenge in Vietnam. SMARTWork worked with Colgate-Palmolive to quickly establish a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS that protected HIV-positive employees and eliminated mandatory testing while making anonymous voluntary testing available. Care and support services for employees, as well as ongoing education activities, were also added. The company worked with SMARTWork to train more than 2,300 factory, field sales and management personnel.
Colgate-Palmolive operates in other nations such as China, Thailand, India, and Nepal, and an official noted that after its success in Vietnam, “We will take the lead in Asia and introduce SMARTWork to our other country affiliates in Asia.”