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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Posted: September 7, 2010 09:30 AM

With a Little Help From My Friends

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A few weeks ago, my friend, the designer Jean Paul Gaultier, launched with Elle magazine a special t-shirt he has designed for the Born HIV Free campaign, included with copies of Elle magazine sold in France during August. This campaign, for the Global Fund, is about letting the world know that ending the transmission of HIV between mothers and children by 2015 is totally achievable. It also asks for people to show their support for their countries' contribution to the Global Fund, which already funds more than half of the programs around the world to help HIV-positive women prevent the virus being passed on to their children. (Although almost half of all women who need it receive treatment to prevent this transmission, still over 430,000 babies are born with HIV every year.)

On the upper right front of Jean Paul's t-shirt -- about where your heart is -- is a printed inscription in Jean Paul's handwriting that says: "Hope spreads faster than AIDS," and below it is his signature. Jean Paul's t-shirt is right on the mark -- and a brilliant example of how the artistic community can help raise awareness about causes by using their creative energies make their fans and supporters aware of these issues.

In my role as ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, I have the honor and good fortune to be able to bring together some of my peers, who are immensely talented in their artistic fields, to help spread the message of hope for the cause I represent in my ambassadorship, the protection of mothers and children from HIV. We will keep on doing that till we can proudly announce that the world carries no more babies with HIV.

An amazing collection of artists, musicians, and visionaries brought together by my friend producer Julien Civange who conceived the campaign have lent their talents to shed light on the global goal to end the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children by 2015. Oscar-winning filmmakers H5 produced a series of short, beautiful and educational films that show how mothers with HIV can protect their children from the virus. French artist Les Bonzoms created a series of animation films, accompanied by the music of Amy Winehouse, with babies floating through the sky, dreaming of a beautiful life that begins by being born free of HIV. Paul McCartney streamed his concert in late June at Hyde Park exclusively through the Born HIV Free YouTube channel -- the first time a European concert was ever streamed live on YouTube. And we have just launched a new campaign video, "Inside," by trail-blazing animator Mac Guff Paris, with an instrumental version of "With or Without You" offered by U2.

The first step of the Born HIV Free campaign will end on October 5 at the Global Fund Replenishment Summit in New York, when donor governments will hear how many people from around the world (over 14 million) have shown their support for the dream of freeing future generations from HIV through this campaign's website, YouTube channel and social media. For the videos and other material on these virtual platforms, all the artists involved have created a mood of optimism, of certainty about a brighter future, of energy and possibility -- one of hope for being so close to the first end game in the fight against HIV and AIDS, as Jean Paul's t-shirt proclaims.

It takes an inspired group of visionaries whose work and talents are brought together to achieve any goal as ambitious as this one -- and those in the world of the arts have their own part to play. If we all lend our voice, we can achieve a generation free of AIDS by 2015.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is the Global Fund's Ambassador for the Protection of Mothers and Children Against AIDS. To sign up to the Born HIV Free campaign, go to the Born HIV Free web site, and for more about the Global Fund, visit globalfund.org.