Celebrity activism has long been a driving force for raising funds and awareness towards the fight against HIV. From the stars who captured our hearts, here are three celebs that have made a big, positive impact on the HIV landscape and continue to do so.
Annie Lennox began her journey as a HIV/AIDS campaigner in 2003 when she attended the launch of Nelson Mandela’s HIV foundation ‘46664’. In her TED talk she tells the story of meeting in front of Mandela’s prison cell and being moved by his speech where he said a ‘mass genocide’ was taking place, affecting women and children the most, in post-apartheid South Africa.
From that point Annie Lennox has toured the world speaking with politicians, at charity events, and released a single under her SING Campaign – an advocacy and fundraising campaign for HIV – which had 23 different prominent female artists contributing to the track. Named in 2010 as the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lennox continues to campaign for awareness around HIV and fundraising for its treatment to this day.
Sir Elton John became a HIV activist just as he overcame his drug problem. In an interview with NPR about his biography, Sir Elton reveals it was the strength displayed by American teenager Ryan White – a haemophiliac who had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion and became the subject of terrible stigma blown up by the media at the height of the HIV pandemic – and the support of his partner that allowed him to overcome his addiction and start focusing on providing support for people living with HIV.
Today the Elton John AIDS Foundation provides international funding for HIV/AIDS programmes, its organisational charter seeks to stop discrimination and stigma around HIV, stop new HIV infections and have no more AIDS deaths.
Miley has taken the world by storm moving between the film and music worlds, she has reinvented herself from a child star on the Disney Channel to a sexy and unapologetic diva, gaining both criticism and popularity through her career transitions. Though labelled and criticised for certain career choices Miley has also been heavily involved with fundraising for HIV and LGBTIQA youth.
Currently she is the spokesperson for cosmetics company MAC’s Viva Glam collection (which has raised around $25 million towards those affected by HIV/AIDS), and she personally donated $500,000 to amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) during the annual amfAR Inspiration Gala.
Who do you think would be a great ambassador to join in the fight against HIV in NSW or Australia?