Take an AIDS test—Win a Pickup Truck!!!

Could mining firms be at the forefront in the fight to contain AIDS? A Reuters story claims that up to one in every three mining workers in South Africa is infected with the virus, and it’s getting so bad that companies are taking notice:

Firms are enticing miners to take HIV/AIDS tests by offering prizes, sending mobile treatment units to the bush where sex workers operate and blanketing the region with condoms.

For instance, Gold Fields gives each miner who takes an HIV/AIDS test a lottery ticket, offering monthly prizes of cell phones, televisions and cash, plus a final sweepstake where one worker wins a new pick-up truck.

BHP Billiton -- the world's largest mining company -- said for every dollar it invests in HIV training, education and medical programs the return is four-fold in terms of benefits such as re-training, absenteeism and productivity.

"When we started our HIV program we didn't wait for any government to say yes or no, if there is a risk for an organization we take appropriate action."

For years, activists have been calling on governments and the UN to spread awareness and treatment. It looks like business could instead be the source of more effective and efficient efforts against the epidemic.

Steve Chapman pointed out the idiocy of government needle policy and AIDS, while Ronald Bailey has looked at the progress made (and yet to come) in developing AIDS treatments.

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  • ||

    "...blanketing the region with condoms..."

    Coney Island White Fish?

  • ||

    Firms are enticing miners to take HIV/AIDS tests by offering prizes, sending mobile treatment units to the bush where sex workers operate and blanketing the region with condoms.

    Does Reuters always double-up their double-entendres?

  • x,y||

    YES! YES! YES! they DOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  • ||

    offering monthly prizes of cell phones, televisions and cash, plus a final sweepstake where one worker wins a new pick-up truck

    People at risk for AIDS have all the luck.

  • ||

    I'm guessing this program will work a lot better than the "if you have sex, even using a condom, you go to hell and burn forever" approach.

  • ||

    People at risk for AIDS have all the luck.

    I don't know... It appears that married monogamous jerks can free ride on this system for the same rewards.

    There oughta be a law.

  • ||

    People at risk for AIDS have all the luck.

    Yeah, they already hit the jackpot once by getting those mining jobs.

  • SPD||

    sending ... units to the bush where sex workers operate

    I -- I can't... it's just too easy.

  • brian||

    I take the round-about AIDS test. I call my friend Brian and I ask, "Brian--do you know anybody who has AIDS?" and he tells me "No." So I say "Cool. Cause you know me."

    RIP Mitch Hedberg.

  • ed||

    a final sweepstake where one worker wins a new pick-up truck

    This is ouuuurrr country.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Too bad Mitch didn't ask his friend about people likely to OD. (Really. He was a funny guy.)

  • ||

    The other day the blood bank called me up to tell me I won free tickets to Warp Tour. Up until they said "tickets" I thought that they where trying to tell me that I have Hepatitis C in a very passive-agressive way.

  • ||

    a new pick-up truck

    Maybe the crisis can be solved with a window sticker showing Calvin pissing on AIDS.

  • ||

    So that's what Bob Barker is doing these days...

  • ||

    Those capitalist exploiters, trying to greatly help a troubled region just to line their own pockets!

  • ||

    Now all we need to do is get the Christian missionaries to stop telling locals that condoms CAUSE AIDS. My SIL is in the Peace Corps in Cameroon fighting that battle right now.

  • highnumber||

    Good to get people tested. Funny they need prizes to get to be tested. There, that's done.

    Now, let's do like the Spoon thread yesterday, but with Mitch Hedberg.

    I saw him not too long before he died. He was funny, but he had some heckler who really pissed him off. Mitch was angry enough to lob C-bombs at the guy. It threw off the rest of the night. Damn shame.
    I miss his stuff.

  • ||

    Hey, is the give-away a Chevy pick-up truck? I can see the public-awareness commercials now: Grimy but manly miners getting off work, getting into their Chevy pick-ups, and driving off for a night on the town, while Bob Seeger sings:

    Like a rock -- be as strong as you can be!
    Mind your cock -- don't get HIV!
    Try your luck -- enter the lottery!
    Win a truck -- or cell phone, cash or TV!
    Mmmmm, mmmm
    Like a rock ...

  • LarryA||

    What do you win if the test comes back positive?

  • ||

    a final sweepstake where one worker wins a new pick-up truck

    does that come equipped with the 50 caliber mounted in the back?

  • violent_k||

    Stevo wins again.

  • ||

    For years, activists have been calling on governments and the UN to spread awareness and treatment. It looks like business could instead be the source of more effective and efficient efforts against the epidemic.

    I'd be careful here. South African mining towns aren't exactly typical third-world environments. You've got a single large employer, and a fairly stable skilled workforce (not much turnover), so good economic motives to invest in the health of the workforce.
    It's great that BHP is doing this. Good for them. I'm glad that it's paying off for them in financial terms as well.
    But it would be foolish to leap from this single atypical example to "ah, business is obviously The Answer". This model doesn't exactly translate to, say, Kenyan truck drivers, or Bangladeshi fishermen.

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