|Contact: Craig Mauro (202) 473-0177
WASHINGTON, November 30, 1998 The World Bank has joined forces with MTV and UNAIDS to launch a jointly-produced documentary, "Staying Alive," to educate and inform youth around the world about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The documentary, with an introduction by pop singer George Michael, features the personal testimonies of six young people living with HIV/AIDS in six different countriesBrazil, India, the Netherlands, Ukraine, USA, and Zambia. MTV newscaster John Norris will launch the documentary at a World AIDS Day event in Washington on December 1. The thirty-minute piece will air in its entirety on MTV networks throughout the day on December 1.
At the event, the World Bank will also launch a 30-second Public Service Announcement, "A World Without AIDS," to be featured during the commercial break of the airing of the documentary. Designed to encourage individual responsibility in protecting one's self and others, the spot will air on all 15 MTV networks internationally in seven languages. It can be viewed on the internet at: http://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/extme/pubsvcs.htm .
The World Bank will co-host the World AIDS Day event at the National Press Club in Washington on December 1 to encourage young people around the world to recognize the crucial role they play in fighting the AIDS epidemic. This year's theme, "Youth as a Force for Change," encourages young people to get involved in reducing their risk and the spread of HIV/AIDS, to educate their peers, and to develop responsible, healthy lifestyles.
This year's World AIDS Day event brings together representatives from the United Nations, MTV, the White House, the Global Health Council, USAID, NGOs, and others to focus on the theme of young people and HIV/AIDS. Welcoming remarks by representatives of the organizers will be followed by an Open Youth Forum, moderated by actress and television talk show host Ricki Lake and featuring a panel of experts and students from local area schools.
"I am excited and honored to be a part of World AIDS Day," said Ricki Lake. "It is critical that young people understand that the AIDS epidemic is not something to be complacent about and that it poses a very real threat to their future and the future of our world. I want to do all I can to help carry that message to them and encourage them to be a real force for change' in the fight against AIDS."
According to a report issued last week by UNAIDS and the WHO, 5.8 million people were infected with HIV during the past yearapproximately 11 men, women, and children every minuteand half of all new infections are now occurring among young people aged 15 to 24.
The epidemic's spread threatens to wipe out decades of development progress due to the steady increase in loss of life and productivity. This is true particularly in Africa where ninety percent of people with HIV/AIDS live and where the impact of AIDS has been devastating. Life expectancy has declined by as much as 12 years, and research has shown that there is a high correlation between poverty, inequality and high HIV incidence.
"Last year at this time, we were talking about 30 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. There are now 33.4 million people living with HIV/AIDSa 10 percent increase in just one year," said Debrework Zewdie, HIV/AIDS Coordinator at the World Bank. "We cannot wait any longer to intensify our efforts against this disease which already has killed nearly 14 million adults and children. We must act now. The new UNAIDS figures provide a clear indication that AIDS is threatening everything that we do in development. We must act now and place AIDS at the center of the development agenda."
The World Bank and HIV/AIDS
The World Bank is strongly committed to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care and provides direct assistance to borrower governments in the form of loans, technical assistance, and policy guidance, to reduce the spread of the AIDS epidemic and help countries cope with the social and economic consequences of the epidemic.
As one of the leading financiers of HIV/AIDS activities in the world, the Bank has committed over $800 million to HIV/AIDS related projects worldwide since 1986. The Bank's board will tomorrow consider an $11.3 million credit to the Republic of Guinea for a population and reproductive health project that includes an HIV/AIDS prevention component.
The Bank is also an active co-sponsor of UNAIDS supporting the multi-agency group (UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO, World Bank) to combat AIDS. Among the cooperative activities involving the World Bank and UNAIDS is an online discussion of cost-effective means of HIV/AIDS prevention. The discussion, sponsored by UNAIDS, will get underway early next month.
Recently the World Bank has also been involved in funding research projects on alternative cost effective approaches to reduce the spread of HIV and mitigate the economic and social consequences of AIDS. The Bank is part of a global coalition of organizations created to assist in funding the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to accelerate progress toward development of an AIDS vaccine
For more information on the World Bank and World AIDS Day, see the Bank's website at: http://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/hivaids/default.htm
More information about the UNAIDS online discussion see the International AIDS Economics Network website: http://www.iaen.org/