NEW YORK, November 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 80 iconic landmarks across 13 countries will join (RED) to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS pandemic, by turning red to mark World AIDS Day on 1st December. The campaign will launch in Sydney where Wendy McCarthy, Chair of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund will light the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge on November 30th with the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, the Premier of New South Wales Kristina Keneally and Bono, who is currently touring Australia with U2. Landmarks across the world will follow including Table Mountain in South Africa, the London Eye, the Empire State Building in New York, illuminating time zone-by-time zone ending with LAX in Los Angeles. The campaign is to highlight the attainable goal of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015, creating the first generation in 30 years of babies born HIV-free.
HIV/AIDS is preventable and treatable but UNAIDS statistics published last week estimate 370,000 children are infected with the disease in 2009, down from 430,000 in 2008. Without treatment, as many as half will die by the age of two. Currently, only 45% of pregnant women have access to the medicine they need to stop transmission, but collectively, prevention measures for pregnant women including HIV screening, antiretroviral medication for those who test positive, treatment during and after labour and infant feeding guidance, have been shown to block mother-to-child transmission in up to 99% of cases and the focus is now on making sure every pregnant woman who needs treatment receives it.
"This is a time of great hope and promise in the battle against AIDS, because we are on the verge of ensuring that virtually no child will come into the world carrying the burden of HIV," said Susan Smith Ellis, CEO of (RED). "It is incumbent upon us to maintain pressure on our leaders to fulfill their current promises for funding and to seek out new, innovative models to fill the gap. Our World AIDS Day awareness campaign, 'The AIDS Free Generation is Due in 2015' is a reminder to everyone that we must work together to overcome the financial challenges at this critical juncture and to keep the world focused on this issue and this achievable goal."
"With continued funding from governments and organizations like (RED), a world where no child is born with HIV is truly possible by 2015," says Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "No other area of HIV funding has seen such a direct and rapid correlation between donor investments and live-saving impact as prevention of mother-to-child transmission. If every woman can protect her new-born from HIV infection, we can truly start the first AIDS-Free Generation by 2015."
Individuals can show their support and help turn the world (RED) by sending images and words of support via the social networks; Facebook, FourSquare, Meet-ups and Twitter. (RED) will aggregate this information on a global map, displaying all posts alongside the landmarks, with the hope of turning the map of the world (RED), to represent the world's support of the 2015 goal. Fittingly, the innovative technology behind the map visualisation, called 'Ushahidi', stems from an open source project born in Africa for use in crisis response.
Additionally, (RED)'s documentary 'The Lazarus Effect', directed by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs which illustrates the importance of antiretroviral drugs will be aired on television on World AIDS Day in over sixty countries, including Channel 4 in the UK, HBO in the USA, Fox LatinoAmerica, Top Explore in South Africa and SBS in Australia.
Since its launch in 2006, over $160 million has been generated by (RED) partners and events for the Global Fund, to finance AIDS and HIV programmes in Africa. (RED) money is at work in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia, where support programmes have reached more than 5 million people.
To help turn the world (RED) in honour of World AIDS Day, visit http://www.joinred.com. For a full list of landmarks please visit http://blog.joinred.com/2010/11/join-us-in-lighting-global-landmarks.html.
About (RED)(TM)and (PRODUCT) RED(TM)
(RED)'s primary objective is to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds for the Global Fund, to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Companies whose products take on the (PRODUCT) RED mark contribute a significant percentage of the sales or portion of the profits from that product to the Global Fund to help finance HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, including interventions targeting women and children. Current partners are: American Express (U.K. only), Apple, Bugaboo, Converse, Gap, Emporio Armani, FLOWE(RED) (U.K. only), Hallmark (U.S. only), Dell, Nike, Penguin Classics (U.K. only) and Starbucks. Since its launch in the Spring of 2006, $160 million has been generated by (RED) partners and events for the Global Fund. (RED) money is at work in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia and supports programs that have reached more than 5 million people. For more information, visit http://www.joinred.com.
About The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the dominant financier of programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 19.3 billion in 144 countries. To date, programs supported by the Global Fund have averted more than 5.7 million deaths through providing AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people, TB treatment for 7 million people, and by the distribution of 122 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide. The Global Fund provides nearly a quarter of all international financing for AIDS globally, as well as three-fifths for TB and malaria. (RED)(TM) is the Global Fund's largest private sector contributor. For more information visit http://www.theglobalfund.org.
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