Music stars can be role models for young people on HIV

Posted by Agatha / on 10/13/2009 / 0 Comments

 Source: UNAIDS

- Music stars participating at the MTV Africa Music Awards

(MAMAs) ceremony, being held tomorrow in Nairobi, Kenya, can have a significant impact in

educating young people about HIV and changing their behaviour, according to UNAIDS

Executive Director Michel Sidibé. The event will be aired worldwide with an estimated TV

audience of 1 billion viewers.

Today, young people aged 15 to 24 account for 45% of new HIV infections worldwide. Many

of them lack basic knowledge about HIV prevention. Data from 64 countries indicate that

only 40% of males and 38% of females aged 15 to 24 had accurate and comprehensive

knowledge about HIV and how to avoid transmission.

"UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has encouraged UNAIDS to keep the leaders of

tomorrow healthy today," said Mr Sidibé. "The music stars at MTV Africa Music Awards can

help fast-track awareness about HIV into the hearts and minds of African youth."

Mr Sidibé congratulated Bill Roedy, President of MTV Networks International and the former

Chair of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, for his commitment to engaging the

media in the AIDS response. "Through our close partnership with MTV over the years, we

have used innovative communication tools to educate young people about HIV and help

break the cycle of stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS," said Mr Sidibé. He will

be represented at the MAMAs by Dr Djibril Diallo, his Senior Advisor.

In 1998, UNAIDS partnered with MTV to launch the award-winning Staying Alive campaign

(www.staying-alive.org). Ten years later, it has become the world's largest, youth-focused,

HIV prevention campaign. The multimedia campaign consists of films, documentaries, public

service announcements, youth fora and web content produced for young audiences

worldwide and available to third party broadcasters rights-free.

Staying Alive and MTV Base Africa, with support from UNICEF and the US Government, are

producing a new explosive drama for World AIDS Day (1 December), entitled "Shuga",

which focuses on six young people and their relationships as well as the actions they take

that put them at risk of HIV infection. Four actors from Shuga will be presenting an award at

the MAMAs, and will stand on stage as strong role models for young people.

"This will be an opportunity to meet with some of the talented musicians, and talk directly to

them about how they can help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS with their young audience,"

said Mr. Roedy. "Using our global network to communicate HIV prevention messages is one

of the most important things we can do to contribute to this cause. I want the media and

business to show global leadership by educating the world to prevent the spread of HIV."

Celebrating the best contemporary artists and music across Africa, the MAMAs will honour

artists in 13 separate categories. The ceremony will be hosted by hip hop legend Wyclef

Jean, who will also perform. Other performances from Africa's music stars include Akon, M.I.

(Nigeria), Wahu (Kenya), Samini (Ghana) and Lira (South Africa).

Some 22 million people are living with HIV in Africa, two-thirds of the global total. Two million

people died of AIDS in 2007, and three-quarters of these deaths were in Africa. Increased

commitment and funding is bringing about progress: more than 4 million people in low and

middle-income countries worldwide now receive life-saving treatment, but at least 5 million

people are still in need of treatment.

NAIROBI, 9 October 2009

 

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