(RED)buildings/Dead Celebrities/Hashtags…and more from #WAD2010 Campaigns

This year it seems there has been considerable hype leading up to World AIDS Day.  UNAIDS released their 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, the Pope finally acknowledged the valuable role of safe sex in the fight against AIDS, and celebrities everywhere are logging off of twitter to raise funds for the pediatric care of children affected by HIV and AIDS… (wait…what?)

This surge of information and large-scale campaigning has got me thinking about the tremendous shift in public discourse about HIV and AIDS over the last few decades.

This morning CBC.ca uploaded a number of segments on HIV and AIDS from the 1980’s. The tone is one of fear, uncertainty, morality, and questions related to sexual orientation.  When I contrast these images with a few of this year’s bigger campaigns it is clear that today while fear and ignorance linger, solidarity and knowledge dominate.  As such, I thought I would highlight 3 of the more ‘interesting’ World AIDS Day campaigns. Whether or not one agrees with their method or their budget, the sheer scale is indicative of a major shift in global understanding, and acceptance of AIDS. I follow this with a shameless promotion of the organization I have chosen to dedicate almost 8 years to as a volunteer: Art for AIDS International.

Landmarks around the globe turn (RED) for World AIDS Day – (RED)

“December 1st is World AIDS Day and we’re illuminating the world’s most iconic landmarks (RED) to raise awareness of the goal of an AIDS Free Generation due in 2015. Last year nearly half a million babies were born with HIV. But with access to medication a pregnant mother can stop the transmission of HIV to her child. With continued funding to organizations like the Global Fund, the number of babies born with HIV could be zero by 2015 – creating the first AIDS Free Generation in 30 years.”

Digital Death: Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and many more are Dead (digitally) – Keep a Child Alive

“Starting December 1 – World AIDS Day – the world’s most followed celebrity Tweeters are sacrificing their digital lives to help save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India. That means no more Twitter or Facebook updates from any of them. No more knowing where they are, what they had for dinner, or what interesting things are happening in their lives. From here on out, they’re dead. Kaput. Finished. ”

I must admit when I saw this I thought that there was definitely something problematic about this campaign, perhaps insofar as it exposes the extent to which we valorize celebrities and celebrity culture over real global issues… Regardless I am never one to criticize an attempt at thinking outside the box.  In fact, ending new infections will require it.  As such, if you are grieving the loss of Lady Gaga’s tweets, by all means, donate. In the end it will help a child receive treatment in a world where over 10 million people in immediate need of it.

#PreventionRevolution – UNAIDS

“In the lead up to this year’s World AIDS Day, [UNAIDS] will engage with you on Facebook and Twitter about HIV transmission, sex work, gender equality and more. The goal is to make #PreventionRevolution trend on Twitter in as many places as possible on 1 of December. “

For more information on #PreventionRevolution check out my earlier post!

Art for AIDS International

Of course, as many know from previous posts, the organization I choose to support on World AIDS Day (and every other day of the year) is Art for AIDS International, who I have volunteered with for over 8 years. The artwork made by students from around the world is a constant source of inspiration, vision, and hope.  Young people will end the HIV/AIDS pandemic so their voice and vision is paramount.  Join Art for AIDS International on Facebook, Twitter, or check out their website to see art, read stories, and support women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Tags: , ,

Categories: Health


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s