Feature story

Standard Chartered Bank world leader in workplace HIV education

05 June 2008

“Living with HIV” is a workplace
education programme developed by
Standard Chartered Bank

As HIV directly impacts the lives of employees and partners it impacts business. Standard Chartered Bank has been actively engaged in the AIDS response for almost ten years. “Living with HIV” is the Bank’s workplace HIV programme, a comprehensive package that delivers HIV education via face-to-face peer education sessions supplemented by an online e-Learning module.

Standard Chartered has run “Living with HIV” on a global basis since 2003, and all its employees (currently over 73,000) are required to complete it no matter where they are based, unlike other companies that run HIV programmes on a geographical and prevalence basis.

The peer programme is conducted by a network of employees who volunteer their time to educate and raise awareness about HIV. There are currently more than 800 “HIV Champions” across fifty countries so approximately one per 100 staff members.

The objectives of the “Living with HIV” programme include educating staff on prevention to encourage changing risky behaviour; reducing stigma in the workplace and encouraging HIV testing so that those living with the virus can get appropriate support.

The Bank supports this with a non-discriminatory Group Policy on HIV and AIDS as part of its company policy on the protection and enhancement of human rights in the workplace and equal opportunity regardless of color, race, gender and ethnicity.

Responding to AIDS makes business sense

The origin of Standard Chartered’s response to AIDS stemmed from Country Managing Directors, particularly in Africa, seeking human resource policy advice on the management of employees living with HIV. As HIV started to impact profitability through the loss of personnel, absenteeism, medical and welfare costs, the Bank realized that the impact of HIV was likely to be significant and that it must take action. Standard Chartered’s long-term response to HIV began in 1999 when it initiated an AIDS campaign called, “Staying Alive", which was later rolled out across twelve African countries.

Sharing best practice externally


Standard Chartered Bank recognizes that
workplace HIV education is a valuable
investment in their staff and their business.

In 2006, Standard Chartered pledged to the Clinton Global Initiative to educate 1 million people about HIV by 2010. The Bank is freely sharing its HIV educational products and techniques with other organizations and the “HIV Champions” will train peer educators within partner companies.

As part of this commitment, the bank is working with the Global Business Coalition to identify potential partner organizations that will roll out its HIV education programme, which it has already shared with customers, suppliers, governments and wider communities.

UNAIDS, the International Labour Organization and Standard Chartered are working together on an assessment of updated HIV education tools.  

Leadership in the private sector AIDS response

As an estimated two out of three people living with HIV go to work each day, UNAIDS and its cosponsor ILO, believes the workplace is one of the most effective settings for responding to the epidemic.

“UNAIDS recognizes Standard Chartered Bank as a valuable advocate and true business leader in the AIDS response,” said UNAIDS Private Sector Partnerships Chief, Regina Castillo. “International workplace programmes such as “Living with HIV” are a best practice that show that raising staff awareness of HIV is a win-win investment in the future of both their employees and their business.”

Standard Chartered’s AIDS business leadership has been recognized by a number of awards including the Global Business Coalition's 2007 Outstanding Business Action Award for Core Competency.

The Bank also supports community investment projects on AIDS and is currently reviewing medical aid packages in Africa in order to improve employee access to HIV treatment.

Standard Chartered has a history of over 150 years in banking and an extensive global network of over 1,200 branches in 56 countries in the Asia Pacific Region, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom and the Americas.

UNAIDS supports businesses becoming more involved in the AIDS response through its Private Sector Partnerships unit. For more information, please contact Regina Castillo Chief Private Sector Partnership. Tel: +41 22 791 4244 castillor@unaids.org