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Global media initiative will focus on HIV education

Global media initiative will focus on HIV education

A new United Nations-supported global media initiative will focus on HIV education efforts in Russia, China, Indonesia, and the United States, the collective of media companies behind the initiative announced Tuesday at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Established at a special meeting held at United Nations headquarters on January 15 by U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan and directed in partnership by The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Department of Public Information, and the Kaiser Family Foundation with additional support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the media AIDS initiative involves more than 20 leading media companies from around the world. "We know the media can help bring AIDS out of the shadows and get people talking about it in an open and informed way. If we can harness that power through media groups joining forces under the global media AIDS initiative, we can begin to roll back the AIDS crisis," said Annan. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, says, "The coming together of media organizations to harness their collective power to the fight against AIDS is one of the most important partnerships forged to date. The media has the unparalleled ability to save millions of lives by providing them with vital life-saving information on AIDS and creating a supporting environment for social change." The following are highlights of new multimedia public education campaigns and resources being made available under the global media AIDS Initiative: The Russian Media Partnership to Combat HIV/AIDS is a new multiyear program that will launch in late October 2004, marking the first nationwide, coordinated, cross-market, cross-platform public awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS in Russia. The Partnership grew from a pledge made by Alexander Dybal, chairman of the board of Gazprom-Media. Prof-Media and Russia Online have joined this effort along with other Russian and international media companies. The new initiative will deliver public service messages, HIV/AIDS news, analytical and entertainment programming, specialized training for journalists, editors, and producers, access to informational resources, and special events. More than $200 million will be spent over the next three years. In India, the Gere Foundation India Trust, Avahan-India AIDS Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and STAR India launched the Heroes Project, a three-year campaign to combat HIV/AIDS in the country. STAR India/STAR Care, a division of the STAR Group Limited, has made a commitment worth $14 million over three years for cross-platform media placement of HIV public service messages, TV and radio entertainment programming, and news coverage. The first television message, featuring Indian cricket star Rahul Dravid, will debut this month. In China, China Central Television and MTV China have partnered to raise HIV awareness in the world's most populous nation. A new PSA will air nationwide on local cable and satellite systems. The campaign is conducted as part of Staying Alive, a global youth public education campaign conducted by MTV International with UNAIDS, Family Health International, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the World Bank, and others. MTV will also launch a Mandarin-language version of its Staying Alive Web site. In the United States and other countries, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and VH1 announced a multiyear partnership to raise HIV awareness and take action in the fight against AIDS. It marks the first time that the global fund has ever partnered with a media company. The first of five public service announcements debuted Tuesday in the United States. This new campaign is being conducted as part of "KNOW HIV/AIDS," a broader effort for VH1's parent company Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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