Every 40 seconds, a child somewhere in the world is infected with HIV. Yet, more than three decades after the first recognized case of AIDS, no cure has been found, making awareness and prevention the most effective combatants against this deadly disease.
In 1988, at the World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programs for AIDS Prevention, the concept of a World AIDS Day originated. Every year since then, on December 1, World AIDS Day serves as a reminder that millions of men, women, and children are dying from AIDS. Each year on this day, communities around the world remember those who have died, celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services, and promote education and awareness.
This year Schlumberger HSE for Youth HIV/AIDS workshops have been organized in Angola, Cameroon, Chad, the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Russia, and Venezuela. Age-specific materials are adapted for the workshops by a public health expert with input from the Schlumberger international health coordinator. The approach is to raise awareness by providing education and training for young people to spread the word to their friends and families and others in their communities.
As part of an initiative in southern Cabinda, Angola, an HSE for Youth train-the-trainers workshop took place earlier this year for more than 50 teachers from 10 area schools. By reaching out to schools and training teachers, prevention messages are multiplied throughout the communities in which Schlumberger operates.
Schlumberger also provides a mandatory training program for all employees who are assigned to or visiting high-risk HIV/AIDS countries. The online training is based on guidelines in the company’s Global Health Standards and provides information about the origins of the disease, its symptoms, how it is transmitted, and prevention measures.
A newly released report from the UNAIDS states that growth of the global AIDS epidemic has stabilized. In 33 countries, the number of new HIV infections fell by 25% between 2001 and 2009. The number of people living with HIV has increased slightly as AIDS-related deaths have decreased. This is due largely to greater access to antiretroviral treatments.
Schlumberger operates in 80 countries, many of which are in areas most affected by HIV/AIDS, and the company is committed to helping in the fight against the spread of the disease. The Schlumberger HSE for Youth program reaches out to young people between the ages of 8 and 18 to inform and empower them to make responsible decisions about health, safety, and environmental issues.