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UNAIDS and AIDS LIFE partner to increase awareness of HIV

VIENNA, 24 November 2010 - UNAIDS and AIDS LIFE today signed a collaboration agreement to generate greater awareness of HIV and increase fundraising efforts to improve access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

AIDS LIFE, an independent non-profit organization based in the Austrian capital, is the organizer of the annual Life Ball-an international charity event that raises funds to support people living with HIV. UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, joined the founder of the organization, Gery Keszler, at a press conference to announce the partnership.

"UNAIDS is excited to team up with AIDS LIFE. This collaboration underscores the importance of building partnerships in the AIDS response and doing so in an innovative way," said Mr Sidibé.

Mr Keszler added, "The Life Ball offers an internationally known platform for AIDS organizations and its representatives-a unique platform with high visibility that includes and addresses people from all parts of society and age groups. Today, another milestone has been marked with this new cooperation with UNAIDS: the beginning of a new era for the Life Ball."

This announcement comes one day after the release of the UNAIDS 2010 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, showing that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course as the number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are declining. However, the report highlights that the gains made are fragile and further efforts are needed to continue the progress.

In her remarks at the press conference, Brigitte Schmied, former president of the Austrian AIDS Society, underlined the importance of strengthening HIV prevention efforts. "Until science has found an HIV vaccine, prevention campaigns and events such as the Life Ball and other initiatives against HIV have to remind the public that HIV is not curable," said Ms Schmied. "Cooperation with international partners such as UNAIDS, the Clinton Foundation, amfAR and others are necessary."

Since the start of the HIV epidemic three decades ago, in 1981, an estimated 60 million people have become infected with HIV and more than 30 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses. In 2009, 33.3 million people were living with HIV worldwide. There were also 2.6 million new infections and 1.8 million AIDS deaths in the same year.

The 2011 Life Ball

For the past 19 years, AIDS LIFE has been committed to fundraising for the AIDS response and speaking out against prejudice, stigma and discrimination. The annual Life Ball event has proven to provide a worldwide stage to promote solidarity for people living with HIV and affected by the epidemic.

The 19th Life Ball will be held on 21 May 2011. Its theme, following the cycle of 'the elements' started in 2008, will be the third element of "Air". The opening ceremony will be held at Vienna's landmark City Hall and incorporate the theme in an artistic production. For more information, visit: http://www.lifeball.org

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Contact UNAIDS Geneva | Sophie Barton-Knott | tel. +41 22 791 1697 | bartonnkotts@unaids.org
Life Ball Vienna | Doris Pommerening | tel. +43 664 266 0712 | presse@lifeball.orgpresse@lifeball.org

 


UNAIDS

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative United Nations partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Learn more at unaids.org.


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