A 30 sec and 60 sec version of Wei Wei’s commercial – which features the words ‘Love is in our blood’ over drops of blood and the sound of a heartbeat, will run simultaneously on 14th February on YouTube, and on screens in Times Square, Picadilly Circus and Independence Square in Kiev (supported by the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation), Ukraine, which has the largest AIDS epidemic in Europe.
AIDS can be beaten. Science has the medicine we need. What we need now is enough love to make it happen. Ai Weiwei made this video to show that he supports a push to end AIDS once and for all, and a growing movement of people around the world have also been joining in on all forms of social media.
The campaign, which comes from Elton’s AIDS Foundation, is designed to create a global conversation; reminding the world that the fight against AIDS is winnable, but only if we have enough love and compassion to ensure that no one is shut out, left behind or made to feel ashamed.
“Now more than ever we know how to beat AIDS” comments John, whose AIDS Foundation marks its 20th anniversary this year. “Thanks to incredible work by the AIDS community over the past 20 years we now have affordable, quality treatment which saves lives and dramatically reduces the chances of passing on HIV. But these medicines don’t work against prejudice and discrimination. It’s time to stop treating people who are most vulnerable to HIV as outcasts. Everyone deserves the chance to protect themselves. Surely we have enough love for that”.
Artist Ai Weiwei has created a 60 second commercial inspired by the campaign. “The work is about love, about a need for all to be concerned with life” Weiwei says. “When Elton asked me to create something for the Foundation, I wanted to contribute by finding an expression that raises awareness for this crisis among as many people as possible”.
Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS hailed the campaign as a bold and timely reminder about fighting the AIDS epidemic. “Elton, like so many of us, has seen what has been achieved in the fight against AIDS in recent years. UNAIDS believes eradication of stigma is an essential pillar in this fight – critical to preventing more people becoming infected, or dying for lack of compassionate treatment”.
“Of course we want people to protect themselves and everything we fund promotes safe sex, clean disposable needles and condom use” says David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “The idea of this campaign is to challenge the equation that HIV + blood only equals fear and isolation. What pumps through our veins is also the love and compassion to keep one another safe AND look after people when they need it. The only question is whether we are ready to show it”.
One of the great barriers to ending the global AIDS epidemic is still that of human compassion. While HIV infection rates have dropped by up to 50% in many countries over recent years, and 8 million people living with HIV around the world are now on life saving medical treatment, the HIV symptom we still struggle to overcome is shame.
For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation: +380 44 490 4805, P.Piminov@antiaids.org.