December 1 was World AIDS Day. It’s a day where all over the globe there are events and public awareness of a disease that has caused the death of millions of people. Some of us don’t want to talk about it – to be honest for awhile I didn’t either. Where years ago we could of hid under a rock pretending it didn’t affect us, in 2007 we know better. We know it can affect anyone despite your background, race, gender, economic level, and age. There are certain conditions which do make some people because of lifestyle decisions more susceptible to contracting the disease, but it is everyone’s issue.
So you may say, I’m a college student who has bills as high as the sky, and a tuition bill tugging at my pocket, how can I really help? There are so many ways. Last week, at my college, there was a table in our University Center, collecting money. I only had $1.00. It isn’t a lot, but it is still a symbol that I am supporting the cause. Another way is simple. We all like to shop, right? Well, what if a portion of your purchase went to AIDS research. Product(RED) features anything from your favorite Motorola Razor, t-shirts, Nike sneakers, and iPods. Only difference is that it is a red product and the money goes towards providing medicine for those in Africa who cannot afford it. Christmas is coming up in a few weeks. If you plan on buying any popular gifts for a friend, check to see if there is a RED version with the (RED) product logo attached! It was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver and since then many celebrities have joined to support the product line. As AIDS awareness increases even our favorite online obsessions, MySpace, AOL Instant Messenger, and Facebook have become supporters of Product (RED).
It is inspiring that celebrities are using their starpower to create awareness and help erase the stimga of discussing the disease. For instance, Oprah had a special last year about Product(Red) where Bono showed her common things purchased that were red for the campaign. Julia Roberts recently showcased Emporio Armani RED bracelets she designed, and Product (RED) recently reached its goal of $50 million toward the global fund! In recent years, I’ve noticed that young singers and actors campaigning for research and awareness has made it more open to talk about. Alicia Keys, the songbird with the humble demeanor, but overpowering vocal ability has done countless commercials, advertisements, and encouraged AIDS awareness. Most of her campaigning has been aimed towards Africa, which has the highest number of AIDS of any continent(but other continents are seeing high rates of infection also), with South Africa having the most in all of Africa.
To see your own personal impact there is a cool widget on RED’s official website where you click on items you, and your family and friends have bought and find out how much you have donated. Being aware and knowledgeable can save your life. Being generous and informed can make someone else’s life better. Although, a lot of the focus is on Africa with (RED), we must remember that there rates are climbing in the U.S as well – especially between the ages of 18-24. Women are being infected more now than ever. It is not just something that one person, one state, or one country is facing, this is a global problem. Click Here to learn more about the creation and history of World Aids Day.