How Celebrities Showed Their Support For World AIDS Day
Photos via Instagram
This week (December 1) marks World AIDS Day, which was established in 1988 to encourage people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV and also to show support for people living with HIV.
Since the virus was first identified in 1984, according to the organization, more than 35 million people globally have died of AIDS.
This 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day serves as a reminder that HIV is still not eradicated—despite the tremendous scientific advances in treatment—and there is still a need to raise money in the battle to increase awareness, provide education and fight prejudice.
A recent study conducted by IPSOS this fall in Canada revealed that sexually active young people, aged 18 -29 years old, had a belief that good hygiene would protect them from being infected with HIV. More than half of respondents surveyed never had an HIV test. Other findings include a lack of awareness and complacency.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, celebrities remain powerful ambassadors for getting messages across, especially to a younger generation.
We take a look at the activism of celebrities that help support and raise awareness of this worldwide epidemic.
The singer established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 which supports charities and programs in 55 countries around the world and has raised over $125 million to date. He hosts many fundraisers through-out the year, including post-Grammy and post-Oscar parties which attract many A-listers. One of his recent fundraisers, The Vision Benefit Gala, held in New York in November, raised $3.15M to support HIV/AIDS services across the United States, the Americas and the Caribbean. On World AIDS Day, he hosted another benefit in London, The Radical Eye EJAF to raise funds.
The legendary singer and songwriter, tweeted out, “Today is #WorldAIDSDay. Together we have the power to end AIDS. Our world needs love & compassion more than ever. Get tested. Fight stigma.”
Prince Harry and Rihanna
His late mother, Princess Diana, supported AIDS causes in an era when it wasn’t popular to do so. One of the simplest but most pivotal things she did in those early days in the battle against the disease was to be photographed holding a patient in a hospital who was dying of the disease. The picture assured a public that the disease was not contagious by casual contact and also helped fight the stigma of the disease. Today, her son carries on some of this work. Currently in Barbados for a Royal Tour, on World AIDS DAY, he visited a HIV drop-in centre to take a live HIV blood test. He wanted to show how easy and important it was to be tested and how antiretroviral medication can help combat the virus.
“Because of the success of these drugs, which is great, we are now suffering from complacency and risk going back 10 or 20 years,” he reportedly noted.
Pop singer Rihanna was also in her native Barbados the same time as Prince Harry and joined him at the HIV drop-in centre in Bridgetown, the nation’s capital. She also agreed to have a live HIV-test to encourage people to get tested.
Other celebrities use their star power to get the public involved in fund-raising by buying select products that were developed to help raise funds for various AIDS organizations around the world.
The singer teamed up with Belvedere Vodka for the #MAKETHEDIFFERENCE campaign. The liquor brand created a limited edition bottle where 50 per cent of the profits will go towards Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
The fashion designer and former Spice Girl obviously believes that they are never too young to teach the benefits of charity. For the past few years, the designer designed a t-shirt to commemorate World AIDS Day, and this year she enlisted the help of her daughter Harper. The five-year-old did an illustration which was featured on this year’s t-shirt and is sold on victoriabeckham.com. All profits from the sale of the t-shirt will benefit Born Free Africa—a charity that works on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).
The rock star of the band U2 is one of the co-founders—along with Bobby Shriver—of (RED), an organization which enlists various brands from Coca-Cola to Nike to Apple and GAP to produce special products with the (RED) logo with the sales going towards eliminating AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
While it’s great to see celebrities use their fame as a platform to raise awareness, it should also be noted that it is just as easy for ordinary individuals to contribute in small ways.
The actress demonstrates exactly just how easy it is for individuals to get involved in giving with a hilarious infomercial for (SHOPATHON)RED, a shopping initiative from Bono’s (RED) organization.
Just in time for gift-giving season, for the month of December, RED.org will be selling hundreds of cool products from a variety of brands that include Alessi, Beats by Dr. Dre, GAP, Jonathan Adler and Vespa and proceeds will help benefit the fight against AIDS in Africa.