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Caribbean Broadcast Media join partnership on HIV/AIDS as part of Global Mobilization of Media

The Ford Foundation and Elton John AIDS Foundation announced they would be joining the Kaiser Family Foundation in together providing one million USD to support the operations of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, the region’s first media-led initiative on HIV/AIDS.  Kaiser, which helped initiate and create the Partnership, will also provide ongoing operational and public health expertise.  The Partnership -- which responds to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s call-to-action to media under the Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI) -- promotes collaboration and leverages resources among media in the region with the goal of
expanding AIDS programming.

The Caribbean region has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world outside sub-Saharan Africa.  According to the latest UNAIDS statistics, AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adults in the region ages 15-44 years.  Stigma and homophobia have been identified as major contributors to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. "We know that the media is our most powerful tool to get out information and change attitudes," said Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  "I am delighted that my Foundation, in conjunction with our partners Kaiser and Ford, will work directly with Caribbean broadcasters to help educate their audiences, promote tolerance, and change the public dialogue about this epidemic."   "Media is a central part of Caribbean communication and culture..  It is well-placed to bring HIV/AIDS concern and awareness into the households, hearts and actions of our families and communities," said Dr. Jacob A. Gayle, Deputy Vice President for the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative at the Ford Foundation.

The Caribbean Partnership includes more than 30 television and radio companies representing 22 countries from across the region as well as the U.S. who have committed to making HIV/AIDS a core business priority and integrating HIV-content across all program genres, including news, public affairs and entertainment.  Led by a seven-member steering committee made up of broadcast executives and chaired by Dr. Allyson Leacock, General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Partnership has made a minimum commitment of 30 seconds of airtime per hour (12 minutes per day) for HIV/AIDS messages and mapped out a strategy for the first-year that includes:

* A pan-Caribbean public service campaign;
* Original HIV-themed entertainment programming, such as soap operas;
* Programming workshops for writers, producers and on-air talent;
* Journalist trainings and briefings; and
* Complementary information resources.




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