Artists and fan sites campaign on World AIDS Day
Today, 1st of December, individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 also marks the 20th anniversary of the World AIDS Day. In an act of unity, Eurovision Song Contest fan sites and former participants - who usually compete! - have come together to raise awareness for the global epidemic.
Ani Lorak, who represented Ukraine at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest and finished 2nd with Shady Lady, is one of her country's most well-known AIDS and HIV ambassadors. In the lead up to this year's Eurovision Song Contest she said to Eurovision.tv's Glen Webb: "The starkness of the HIV/AIDS problem, I think, is striking. I think that HIV positive people should not be isolated from the rest of society, and feel as if they are different from other people. I want the people to understand the fact that HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through friendship. It was a great opportunity for me to fulfill the role of the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine in 2004. During that time I have participated in the creation of a social advertisement about tolerant treatment of HIV positive individuals, in various charitable events devoted to this topic, and donated money from my concerts to hospitals. It is wonderful that I can use my publicity to help people."
Ani Lorak is not the only former participant raising awareness on the issue. In 2007, the Austrian Eurovision Song Contest song Get A Life - Get Alive literally put the topic on stage. Singer Eric Papilaya worked closely with the international charity Life Ball and performed on the Eurovision Song Contest stage embraced by a giant red ribbon, the symbol of AIDS and HIV awareness. In 2003, world famous singer Elton John addressed the Eurovision Song Contest viewers live from Vienna, where he attended the Life Ball event, to raise AIDS and HIV awareness.
Earlier this year, Alcazar band member Andreas Lundstedt from Sweden publicly confirmed that he is HIV-infected. He wanted to speak out to show that people can live public lives and continue with their lives, helping to change opinions and bring down the barriers of prejudice. Recently it was announced that Lundstedt will again perform with Alcazar in the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Eurovision Song Contest fan sites esctoday.com, eurovision-croatia.com, esconnet.dk, escsweden.com, oikotimes.com and escmalta.com launched a one-day campaign to raise awareness and money for a AIDS & HIV charity organization.