Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek Use Their Fame to Focus Attention on HIV/AIDS in Latin America
December 15, 2006
Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek toured Central America recently to preach HIV/AIDS awareness and promote the one-hour documentary, "Confronting the Pandemic," that aired on the Learning Channel on World AIDS Day. The program deals with HIV/AIDS prevention in Central America.
Judd is goodwill ambassador for YouthAIDS, a nonprofit, grassroots organization that educates young adults worldwide about HIV/AIDS prevention. After traveling to Africa last year, this year she chose Latin America as an area where prevention could avert an African-scale crisis.
YouthAIDS' founder is Kate Roberts, a former advertising executive who described her earlier work as "selling bubble gum and cigarettes to 12-year-olds." She quit that job and launched YouthAIDS to use social marketing techniques to promote HIV prevention.
"Market research shows that lower-income people would choose to skip a meal and instead have their hair braided a certain way," Judd said, who joined the effort four years ago. In response, Roberts began working to educate hairdressers in low-income areas about prevention in the hope they will share the message with their clients.
In "Confronting the Pandemic," as photographers swarm around Judd and Hayek, Judd says, "Wherever we go, the press is there. And this is critical to our mission because stories about YouthAIDS programs promote tolerance and combat stigma."
Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)
12.01.2006; Otis Hart