Apple digs deep into its pockets for World AIDS day| How locals are raising HIV awareness

How locals are raising HIV awareness

Apple has become World AIDS Day’s largest corporate donor with a record US$30 million raised for the global fund through the tech company’s various charity efforts. Apple partnered with Product Red (RED) for the fundraising campaign which seeks to eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight African countries. How locals are raising HIV awareness. The US$30 million equates to 144 million days of ARV medication which prevents the transmission of HIV from mothers to their unborn babies. But Apple isn’t stopping there.

Apple digs deep into its pockets for World AIDS day| How locals are raising HIV awareness

To harness the collective power of Apple customers for World AIDS Day 2017, more than 400 Apple stores will feature either illuminated logos or red Apple logo for the week; and for every Apple Pay transaction made at a retail location, online or in-app, Apple will make a US$1 donation to the Global Fund.

App Store visitors around the world will see a Today tab takeover featuring stories dedicated to the cause, including a behind-the-scenes look at how developers are supporting (RED).

Apple is also partnering with gaming developer King in rolling out limited-edition bundles across its popular titles – Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga – with all proceeds from those in-app purchases going to the Global Fund.

Over the past 11 years, Apple customers have helped provide an equivalent of 475 million days of lifesaving medication.

“Connecting through our products and services helps make it easy for our customers to join us in the effort to create the first AIDS-free generation.

“By working with (RED) to stop the transmission of HIV from moms to their unborn babies, we’re already seeing a significant impact in areas where help is needed most. We’re committed to continuing the fight and empowering future generations through these vital efforts,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

Today, 20.9 million AIDS/HIV sufferers have access to lifesaving medication, up from 19.5 million at the end of 2016, and 700,000 in 2000.

The percentage of pregnant women living with HIV and receiving treatment has also increased dramatically: 76 per cent in 2016, up from 47 per cent in 2010.

In 2005, 1,200 babies were born each day with HIV. Today, that number is down to 400, and UNAIDS predicts that the number could be near zero by the year 2020, with the world on track to end AIDS as soon as 2030.

How locals are raising HIV awareness

The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT), a non-profit organisation based in the Valley of a Thousand Hills near Durban, has started a Red Ribbon Fridays campaign to raise awareness of HIV and Aids as well as educate people about the disease.

Weeks ago HACT began visiting schools, churches, sports clubs and community gatherings, supplying people with beaded red ribbons and encouraging them to wear them on Fridays to support those affected with HIV and Aids in the build-up to World Aids Day on 1 December.

An area in need

“As World Aids Day 2017 approaches, we are starting now to do campaigns so that people won’t forget about it. In my understanding, everyday should be Aids day. Another reason we decided to work with people here in the Valley of the Thousand Hills is because HIV and Aids rates in that area are very high. We have seen that it is an area in need, plus there is also a high level of poverty,” said Claire Hodgkinson, marketing manager of HACT.

Paula Thomson, head of the Woza Moya and Friends project falling under HACT, said HACT was founded in 1990 by the Hillcrest Methodist Church to focus on the needs of the local rural and poverty-torn communities and help HIV impacted communities through interventions by addressing prevention, care, economic improvement and community outreach How locals are raising HIV awareness.

HACT has grown over the years and now has a 24-bed Respite Unit, offering round-the-clock care to people in advanced stages of Aids.

“The Woza Moya and Friends project is a social enterprise which helps those impacted by HIV/Aids by putting food on the table. We are assisting many of the patients who leave HACT’s Respite Unit by helping them learn new skills, crafts, sewing and beadwork and then after that we sell their products to gain income which is used to buy the healthy food they need. Even the beaded red ribbons for Red Ribbon Fridays are made by them,” explained Thomson.

‘I have been encouraged’

Shozaphi Dlamini said “I joined HACT in 2000 when I was unemployed. I came here to do bead work and I am proud to say now I can put food on the table for my family.”

Another member of Woza Moya and Friends, Elizabeth Mgaga, said “I have been encouraged. I can now provide for my family thanks to the skills and training I’ve received at HACT.”

HACT is encouraging all South Africans to join their campaign and wear red ribbons on Fridays to support those affected with HIV/Aids.

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