By Jesse Brooks
When it comes to facing up to the global AIDS epidemic, Chevron does more than just give a monetary donation to organizations fighting AIDS and HIV infection. Chevron has shown, by their actions of direct community involvement, on the ground, in countries where they operate, and elsewhere in emerging countries, that they have a corporate policy of forming strategic partnerships with local governmental jurisdictions as well as non-governmental community health organizations. The company, which is based here in the bay area in San Ramon, is on the ground, all over the world, establishing strategic partnerships to help promote AIDS prevention, education, testing and treatment.
Chevron is a global corporation with 62,000 employees operating in many areas where HIV/AIDS is prevalent. In the 1990’s Chevron recognized HIV/AIDS was not only affecting the communities where it operates, but its own workforce as well. As a result, Chevron became an early leader in employee education, training and awareness, and has broadened its efforts beyond employees to the communities where they live in urban areas such as Oakland.
Locally, Chevron has been at the forefront of the fight against AIDS since 1986 when it joined 13 other Bay Area companies to promote education and to reduce stigma of the disease in the workplace. In the 1990’s, Chevron expanded efforts internationally and in 2005 the company implemented a global HIV/AIDS policy supporting employees and their families.
In 2008 they committed $30 million to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to support programs in Asia and Africa. In October 2010 Chevron made an additional $25 million commitment.
Rhonda Zygocki, Vice President, Policy, Government and Public Affairs for Chevron said, “Our increased investment and continued partnership with the Global Fund reflects our long-term commitment to fight these deadly diseases in regions of the developing world where we have some of our largest operations.” Zygocki says socioeconomic development and strong economies start with healthy communities.
In June of this year Chevron, along with other major companies, partnered with Get Screened Oakland (GSO) kicking off a new HIV/AIDS prevention strategy that engaged the business community to help further efforts to dramatically increase HIV awareness and condom usage in the city.
The Oakland model, the nation’s first, encourages businesses, especially Walgreen’s pharmacy, to become part of a network participating in prevention and condom distribution. Staffs of these local businesses are now also being trained to discuss risks, prevention, and condom usage with customers. Small businesses also will be provided with educational materials and condoms to distribute to their employees and customers.
GSO is a citywide HIV screening program initiated by Mayor Dellums, who submitted to a simple public HIV testing on the steps of city hall as an example for the public to follow.
Dr. Marcia Martin, the GSO director, was the keynote speaker at Chevron’s World AIDS day program this year.
Mayor Dellums presented certificates of appreciation to some of the 25 businesses who have collaborated with Get Screened Oakland’s Global Business Coalition initiative for their work in the community recognizing two Chevron employees David McMurry and Ernesto De La Torre.
McMurry is Manager of Global Health & Special Projects and De La Torre is Coordinator of Global Public Health for Chevron. The Oakland City Hall was illuminated with red lights in commemoration of those living with HIV/AIDS.