In his address at the International AIDS Conference that wrapped in Washington, D.C., on July 27th, Sir Elton John told the audience that "I should be dead" for having not taken precautions against HIV in the past.
AIDS 2012, as it's better known, was the most attended global HIV/AIDS conference to date. It made headlines this year not only for its return to the U.S. for the first time in 22 years, but for companies including Levi Strauss and MAC who continue to support the fight against the disease and prejudice that surrounds it.
The MAC AIDS Fund (MAF), the philanthropic arm of MAC Cosmetics, announced two major initiatives at AIDS 2012, continuing its leadership position as the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical funder in the HIV/AIDS arena.
The company announced The Care for Life Initiative, a $4.5 million project intended to make sure that those living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. receive appropriate, consistent medical care. The MAF partnership with UNICEF will provide $2 million per year over two years to expand access to prevention and treatment services for children and adolescents with HIV/AIDS in Brazil, India, South Africa, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Care for Life Initiative is intended to help the one in two people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. who fall out of care.
The initiative will comprise three arms to start: a $4 million, 3-year partnership with AIDS United to fund both national and local efforts to improve access to care and treatment compliance; UCARE4LIFE, a pilot program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will use text messaging to improve access to care and compliance among racial and ethnic minorities; and a partnership with HHS and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to convene a meeting of leaders in Fall 2012.
The Canada-founded (it's now owned by Estee Lauder) brand also announced that it has raised $250 million since 1994, with every penny of each $14.50 Viva Glam lipstick underwriting its pro-social commitment. Viva Glam’s current celebrity ambassadors, Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin, join a previous roster including Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper, Christina Aguilera, Eve, Fergie, RuPaul, Mary J. Blige and — yes — Sir Elton John.
At the AIDS conference, MAF built a 3,000 pound screen with 25 monitors broadcasting videos, infographics and animation in a mix of MAF content and live Tweets and content from the conference.
MAF, the “heart and soul” of MAC Cosmetics, donates more than $30 million annually worldwide, particularly in the 70 plus countries with MAC has affiliates, addressing the most stigmatized, marginalized and underreported victims.
In the words of Sir Elton, “Everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone, everyone, everyone, deserves love.”