A first-ever global HIV creative meeting held at the United Nations in New York Tuesday drew more than 100 creative and programming directors for 35 global media companies, who exchanged ideas on how to incorporate HIV education and prevention messages into their programming, according to a U.N. press release. The meeting builds upon efforts of the Global Media AIDS Initiative, launched in January by U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, Viacom, MTV Networks International, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS, the United Nations Department of Information, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. "The creative community has the power to shape behaviors of individuals and set positive lifestyle trends for communities," says UNAIDS director Peter Piot. "This coming together of the world's best creative minds to focus on AIDS is a significant boost in the response to AIDS. Getting to the hearts and minds of people is key to stopping AIDS."
The global creative meeting's daylong program included sessions led by advertising, programming, and communications experts addressing a wide range of issues related to the epidemic, including stigma and discrimination, youth outreach, broad-based partnership coalitions, and short- and long-form programming development. Sumner Redstone, chairman and CEO of Viacom, delivered the opening address and urged participants to find new ways to focus their talent and creativity in harnessing the media to fight HIV.