HIV / AIDS Awareness
Schlumberger International Health Coordinator Dr. Alex Barbey discusses the company’s approach to raising HIV/AIDS awareness.
How does Schlumberger approach the disease?
We have a formal position on HIV/AIDS that is built into our Global Health Standard. The guidelines stress, among other things, non-discrimination in job screening and during the employment period—HIV/AIDS screenings are not required for job applicants. Additionally, employees with HIV/AIDS are under no obligation to disclose this information to the company, and if they choose to do so, it is kept confidential.
How do you raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among your employees?
If we are to combat this disease, people need to be equipped with knowledge. According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide number of people living with HIV rose from 29 million in 2001 to 33 million in 2007.
Education about this disease is essential. We have developed a training program for our employees based on the HIV/AIDS guidelines in our Global Health Standard.
The approach is built around fostering awareness to address employees who have been affected or face the risk of exposure. It’s about giving employees knowledge so that they can make informed decisions, and about providing a realistic picture of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Describe the training program.
Today, our training has reached a new level. As the disease has become more prevalent, the training program has become more proactive in informing our employees about preventative behaviors.
In 2007, our first obligatory HIV/AIDS training package was developed and integrated into training for all employees living and working in high-risk countries. This training program is an important part of a wider effort to help employees and their families protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. We also organize local awareness-raising workshops for employees and their families in several countries.
What are some of the elements in the training?
We’ve put together an on-line training package that explains the origins of the disease, describes its symptoms and how it is transmitted, outlines preventative measures, dispels myths, and describes Schlumberger’s position. Compliance of the training is then certified. The training is available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Our approach is not just about applying mandatory training—it’s bigger than that. It is about painting a real and clear picture of the disease and giving employees the tools to make informed decisions when they arise. Our proactive and open stance is important as we continue to see the disease spread in the countries where we operate.