Former US President Clinton and Muppet Kami share video message about HIV/AIDS
By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, USA, 24 November 2006 – In the run-up to World AIDS Day, 1 December, former US president Bill Clinton has joined Kami the Muppet to deliver a message about HIV and AIDS.
The public service announcement featuring Mr. Clinton and Kami – an HIV-positive character from ‘Takalani Sesame’, the South African co-production of ‘Sesame Street’ – is part of an AIDS awareness campaign to encourage communication on the subject.
“I like to talk to people about my school, my friends and my favorite things. Oh, and I also talk to people about HIV and AIDS,” the furry yellow Muppet says to Mr. Clinton, who replies: “Me too, Kami. Talking and listening, and helping people learn about HIV and AIDS, are two of the things I do a lot.”
‘2006 AIDS Epidemic Update’
The video message is being released by the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign, which was launched in October 2005 to promote awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people, and to help break the stigma surrounding the deadly disease.
Mr. Clinton’s special World AIDS Day message will be distributed globally to broadcasters along with a series of other PSAs made with star players from the US National Basketball Association.
The new PSAs are being released as the latest UNAIDS-World Health Organisation figures, published this week in the ‘2006 AIDS Epidemic Update’, show that an estimated 39.5 million people – including 2.3 million children – are living with HIV.
In 2006 alone, according to the update, about 4.3 million people have been infected with the virus. Around half of those living with HIV were exposed to the virus before the age of 25.
Partners against AIDS
Kami was named a global ‘Champion for Children’ in November 2003 to help UNICEF bring attention to the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people in Africa, where almost two-thirds of those infected with HIV live. The Muppet has championed the cause of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment ever since.
UNICEF and Sesame Workshop, the non-profit education organisation behind ‘Sesame Street’ – have formalised a relationship to work together on a range of projects addressing literacy and health, as well as fostering respect and understanding in regions in conflict.
For his part, Mr. Clinton has founded the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, which is committed to making AIDS treatment more affordable and supporting large-scale, integrated care and prevention programs.
Listening to children
In his World AIDS Day announcement, Mr. Clinton highlights the importance of parents talking to their children and seeking help when faced with the disease.
“I like to talk to parents about how important it is to listen to their children, and how to help to take care of each other,” he tells Kami, who then asks: “Yeah and you tell everybody that it is OK to hug somebody who is HIV-positive, like me?”
“I sure do, Kami!” replies Mr. Clinton.
Unite against AIDS
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