The Autozone HIV/Aids initiative has achieved rewarding results among its staff. Much of the credit lies with the Solidarity Centre (that strives to promote workers’ rights by strengthening their voices and using workplace policies to help stop the spread of HIV/Aids) and the motivation it gave to Autozone shop steward and gender co-ordinator Roseline Nkgapele. Nkgapele inspired the Autozone team to initiate a workplace HIV/Aids wellness programme.
In October 2011, the Solidarity Centre trained 17 Autozone workers and managers as HIV/Aids peer educators. The educators then encouraged workers to seek counselling and testing during the period leading up to World Aids Day on December 1. Mobile testing and counselling services were arranged by the Solidarity Centre and provided by a health relief organisation funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).
Positively, more than 200 of the 300 warehouse workers sought and received counselling and testing services. On World Aids Day, Autozone gave its workforce the opportunity to attend an HIV/Aids education session, again facilitated by the Solidarity Centre.
The programme has enjoyed continued success since, with over 150 employees tested and more than 30 men undergoing male medical circumcision in June 2012. The Autozone HIV/Aids initiative has tested and educated 350 staff and will educate and encourage more people in the future.