Alicia Keyes, Gwen Stefani, Eve, *NSYNC and Other AAAW Supporters Put Global AIDS Pandemic as a #1 Priority for US Politicians at the Billboard Awards
Sony Music Entertainment - 07/18/2000
Hot on the heels of its award for "Best Collaboration" at the VH1 Awards, Artists Against AIDS Worldwide is taking its call for urgent action to The Billboard Bash and Music Awards, to mark World AIDS Day. The message to the general public and politicians is clear: We have the know-how and the wealth to save each African child who dies every minute of AIDS. All we lack is the political will to put the money where it can save lives now.
"Americans are starting to wake up to a whole world out there to which we have closed our eyes in the past. Since September 11th we know we can never do that again. We have started asking about 'What's Going On' in other countries. We are learning that AIDS is destroying lives and hope for millions of children -- but we are also learning that we can do something about it. Americans are a generous people -- so let's take this opportunity to make a huge impact -- by encouraging our government to give a little more of our great wealth to the world's poor to fight AIDS," says Justin Timberlake of *NSYNC.
Justin was joined by Alicia Keyes, Eve, Gwen Stefani, and partners from the three key charity projects that Artists Against AIDS Worldwide is supporting with proceeds from the sale of the "What's Going On" single. The partners are: The Global AIDS Alliance, which leads advocacy campaigns in the USA; the Hope for African Children Initiative (HACI); and the Africa Alive! YouthAIDS Initiative (AA!YA). These initiatives need more cash to function effectively and save more lives. It is initiatives like HACI and AA!YA that the US government could effectively spend more money on now. That is why the Stop Global AIDS campaign is asking for urgent government action through donating more dollars to fight AIDS, deeper debt relief for AIDS-affected poor countries, and wider access to life-saving treatment for all those afflicted with AIDS.
On current spending levels another three million Africans will die of AIDS next year and by the end of the decade there will be 40 million AIDS orphans in Africa. This is threatening to destabilize the African continent. This in turn could threaten global security. For the sake of African children and our own we cannot sit back and let this happen.
QUOTES FROM KEY PLAYERS IN THE STOP GLOBAL AIDS CAMPAIGN
'What's Going On' is bringing a message of hope and compassion from our artists to so many Africans who are suffering the devastating impact of AIDS. It is our greatest hope that we can help inspire our political leaders to save the lives of all those children and parents so that we can create a better world together."
Leigh Blake, Executive Director, Artists Against AIDS Worldwide
"The commitment of pop stars and the music industry marks a watershed moment in the Stop Global AIDS Campaign. As the anti-apartheid and drop the debt campaign have shown in the past, the music industry can hold the key in reaching a mass audience and explaining what's going on. The chances of beating AIDS have just increased exponentially."
Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director, Global AIDS Alliance
"The children who are being orphaned and endangered across Africa today are the ones who will have to rebuild their communities in the coming years. Making sure those children have a positive future is essential as the world addresses the AIDS pandemic, and we are doing that by helping community-based organizations across the continent get the resources they need to strengthen the work they are already doing."
Dr. Pat Youri, Executive Director of the Hope for African Children Initiative.
"AIDS is the most devastating global health emergency in human history. Over 25 million people have died, 40 million are infected, and the experts say the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. This is totally unacceptable. We know how to prevent AIDS and there are affordable drugs to treat people who are infected. It is long past time for governments to drastically increase the amount of resources to combat this disease, and the United States must lead the way."
Senator Patrick Leahy, (D-Vermont)
"Young people have the power to turn the tide on the AIDS pandemic in Africa, but access is the key, access to prevention information and tools and to a seat at the table where decisions are made on AIDS policy."
Lydiah Bosire, Africa Alive! YouthAIDS Initiative Some Key Facts About HIV/AIDS:
* The USA gives lowest proportion of its wealth to the world's poor than any other rich nation. US foreign aid is less than one percent of the US budget.
* It would cost just ten dollars -- the cost of a movie and a popcorn -- per US citizen per year to pay for an effective effort to stop global AIDS in the poorest countries. At the moment we give just $1.70 per US citizen.
* Today 6000 people died of AIDS in Africa. * Today there were 11,000 new AIDS infections in Africa.
* The average age of Gwen Stefani, Eve, Justin Timberlake is 25. If someone of that age lived in Botswana, they would have only 5-10 years longer to live, such is the devastating impact of AIDS on life expectancy.
For more information please contact Beverly Visty at 1-213-706-9321, or Lis Perry at 1-213-308-6021.
SOURCE: Artists Against AIDS Worldwide
Contact: Beverly Visty, +1-213-706-9321, for Artists Against AIDS Worldwide