The Fight Goes On: Bono’s Unwavering Quest to End AIDS

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In recognition of this year’s World AIDS Day, U2 singer and global activist Bono is stepping up his fight against HIV/AIDS by personally lobbying American legislators to maintain funding for global AIDS initiatives and awareness. His plea comes at a moment when Washington is embroiled in tensebudget debates over how to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” which would trigger automatic spending cuts and tax hikes. Bono showed up in Washington a few weeks after the presidential election to make his case and he didn’t just bring star-appeal, he brought data. His international advocacy organization, The ONE Campaign, recently released a report, warning that despite scientific strides made in combating the pandemic, the United Nation’s goal to achieve the “beginning of the end of AIDS by 2015” will fail if funding is cut to AIDS programs. The report also says financial and political commitment to AIDS efforts from the usual donor countries are varied, with the U.S., U.K. and France leading efforts while Germany, Canada, Japan and Italy lag behind in funding. Bono pushed lawmakers to continue to make AIDS financing a priority. Given the current status, the beginning of the end ofAIDS—defined as when the number of new HIV infections each year is surpassed by the number of people receiving treatment—will not be reached until 2022.

American support is key to reaching the ambitious goals set by the United Nations. When Bono sat down with TIME’s managing editor, Rick Stengel last year, he shared his confidence in the Obama Administration’s financial commitment and praised the U.S’s role in leading efforts to fight the virus. “It is an extraordinary thing that the United States has done, which is in the war against this tiny little virus, which has caused so much destruction and heartache, American leadership has been the turning point,” said Bono in the interview. “Five million lives have been saved around the world because of American leadership.”

Despite the anxiety over whether lack of fiscal support will slow the momentum the movement has already achieved, Bono’s organization, The ONE Campaign and its fundraising division (RED), are continuing to spearhead awareness with a new pop culture initiative coinciding with World AIDS Day on December 1st.

ONE is launching a first-person YouTube video series called “It starts with me,” with video messages and stories from contributors like AIDS activist Cleve Jones and actor Colin Farrell. (RED)  has teamed up with Tiesto, a leading electronic music DJ to release a compilation album, DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES with fellow EDM musicians. The album corresponds with a global YouTube livestream from the Stereosonic Festival in Melbourne, Australia.

As Bono told TIME prior to last year’s World AIDS Day, the beginning of the end of AIDS is nearing with continued international political and financial support. “With some breakthroughs in science there is a chance to turn [this around]… As I say it to you, I can hardly believe the sound of it. For some people, this is a really emotional moment,” he said.

6 comments
NathanielSiegel
NathanielSiegel

SUPPORT S323-2011: overturn EXISTING LAW in N. Y. State: Currently, possession of condoms may be introduced as evidence of prostitution.

Martian_14
Martian_14

AIDS is a disease of ignorance., human stupidity and selfishness.. Easily avoidable, and still people keep on getting it and transmitting it.  

Interestingly, it has become attractive, chic, to work on this cause. More so than other more noble causes...

If humans thought with their  brains instead of their genital system, the planet would a much more enjoyable place to live.

ruraynor
ruraynor

@Martian_14 Go tell all the men and women in unstable countries who contracted HIV after being raped in times of conflict that they are ignorant, stupid and selfish.

Martian_14
Martian_14

@ruraynor @Martian_14  As I said, it is a disease of  ignorance., human stupidity and selfishness.... Victims do not fall in this category, but the perpetrators do!

ShawnArscott
ShawnArscott

Bono misses the most important factor in the fight against AIDS and any illness for that matter  - is that so many people on Planet Earth are marginalized and do not have self-worth. We have to remember we are sacred, sovereign, spiritual beings and live honouring life. Right now life is not valued - most people do not earn enough money to buy the basic necessities for life and to make matters worse we are poisoning our water, air and food. What is it going to take for us humans to start honouring life rather than trashing it? This would go a long way for us to become healthy vital thriving creative beings living a life of dignity. It is disheartening to see all the unnecessary grief and suffering in the world. We can only strive towards doing better.