World Briefing: May 19, 2003

AIDS: Companies Count the Costs

South Africa's public companies will soon be sharing more than just balance sheets and business plans in their annual reports. Come September, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (J.S.E.), the world's 14th-largest stock market, will require every listed company to disclose its AIDS-management policies. Reason: the country's adult HIV rate is 20%, among the world's highest, so infection in workers can affect a firm's performance. South African firms don't know how many of their workers have AIDS; privacy laws prevent mandatory testing by employers. And many companies are loath to disclose any stats: imagine how a food-service company's...

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