Keys first dedicated herself to help battling the HIV and AIDS epidemic after a trip to Africa. Seeing the disease’s prevalence in communities, especially the effects on women, spurred the singer into action.
Keys realized that a truthful dialogue about HIV and AIDS was the first step in preventing the spread of disease. “This experience [in Africa] put names and faces to the numbers and statistics that seem to shape the way we talk about an epidemic that many of us often prefer to think about at arm’s length,” she says. After years of advocacy, Keys believed that conversations were needed not only needed abroad, but also here in the U.S.
With the EMPOWERED campaign, the singer hopes to highlight women who are living and thriving as they fight the disease. Keys wants to tear down the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. “If we educate ourselves and help educate our loved ones through open, honest, loving conversation, the misconceptions will melt away,” she says.
VH1 will air ads over the summer, featuring Keys and five women who have HIV/AIDS to bring attention and support to those affected by the disease.
VH1 JOINS WITH GREATER THAN AIDS AND ALICIA KEYS
TO SPOTLIGHT IMPACT OF HIV ON WOMEN IN THE U.S.
June 20, 2013 – VH1 is helping to bring attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on women with a new series of public service ads slated to air during its popular Monday night programming block starting June 24. The spots are part of a new campaign from Greater Than AIDS and Grammy Award-winning artist Alicia Keys, called EMPOWERED that encourages women to lead in their everyday lives in response to HIV/AIDS.
“They say that knowledge is power. And that adage has never been truer today in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS awareness as National HIV Testing Day approaches on June 27,” said Tom Calderone, President, VH1. “We at VH1 are more than happy to partner with the wonderful Greater Than AIDS team and the talented and dedicated Alicia Keys this summer to amplify their EMPOWERED campaign and promote across our platforms their important messages and stories about HIV prevention and current treatments.”
Of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. today, one in four is a woman. Women of color have been disproportionately affected. One in 32 Black women will contract HIV today if current trends continue.
“Women are vital in changing how we think and talk about HIV/AIDS in our relationships, our families, and our communities,” said Alicia Keys. “When we empower women to have a voice and share their stories to help educate and bring understanding‹we¹re taking charge in the fight to make the end of AIDS a reality.”
“Media plays a powerful role in confronting the stigma that still surrounds this disease. With VH1’s support, EMPOWERED will reach millions of viewers across the country with information about HIV/AIDS and real stories of women who are both living with HIV and thriving,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Communication and Media Partnerships program at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
A focal point of the EMPOWERED campaign is a conversation between Ms. Keys and five women living with HIV. Each week VH1 will feature a new spot profiling each of the EMPOWERED women and their stories, including:
• Cristina, a graduate student from the San Francisco Bay Area who was born with HIV;
• Eva, a home health care worker living in Atlanta with her family;
• Jen, a wife and mother in Portland (OR) who has being living with HIV for more than 20 years;
• Kym, a young professional living in Texas who learned she was positive after her new husband became sick and died as a result of HIV;
• Stephanie, a recent college graduate from North Carolina, who appeared in an MTV special on youth and HIV last year.
They each open up about their lives in the hopes of showing other women that we are all empowered in this fight.
Additional VH1 properties will extend the reach of the messages on-air and online, including airings on sister channels VH1 Soul and Palladia, Viacom Media Networks’ high-definition music channel, as well as digital placements with pre-roll video messages and banners on VH1.com.
HIV is both preventable and treatable. For those who are positive, there are highly-effective therapies today that improve health and extend life, as well as help prevent the spread of the disease. Research confirms that people living with HIV who are on regular antiretroviral treatments reduce the chances of passing the virus to sexual partners by as much as 96 percent. Furthermore, according to the CDC, condoms are highly effective in preventing the spread of STDs during sexual contact.
Yet, despite the progress of the past three decades since the first diagnosis, stigma and misconceptions continue to be significant drivers of HIV today, keeping many from taking actions – such as talking openly, using protection, getting tested or staying on treatment – that can stem the spread of the disease.
Launched in March 2013, EMPOWERED highlights the power of women – as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, partners and people living with HIV – to change the course of this disease through everyday actions. The theme of empowerment carries throughout the cross-platform campaign, which includes TV, radio, outdoor, print and digital public service ads (PSAs), special programming and editorial, social media promotions, informational resources, community programs and more.
For more information about Greater Than AIDS and the EMPOWERED campaign, as well as to view the video of Alicia Keys conversation with women living with HIV, visit: www.greaterthan.org/empowered.
VH1 delivers the ultimate mash-up of music, pop culture and nostalgia for adults who still want to have fun. VH1 is available in 99 million households in the U.S. VH1 also has an array of digital channels and services including VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, VH1 Mobile and VH1.com and @VH1, the hub for all things music and pop culture. VH1 is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information, go to www.vh1press.com, VH1.com, or the VH1 Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter @VH1PR.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is a leading national public information response focused on the U.S. domestic epidemic. Launched in 2009, it is supported by a broad coalition of public and private sector partners, including: major media and other business leaders; Federal, state and local health agencies and departments; national leadership groups; AIDS service and other community organizations; and foundations, among others.
Through targeted media messages and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS works to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and promote actions to stem the spread of the disease. While national in scope, Greater Than AIDS focuses on communities most affected.
The Kaiser Family Foundation – a leader in health policy and communication – provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, as well as oversees the production of the campaigns. The Black AIDS Institute – a think tank exclusively focused on AIDS in Black America – provides leadership and expert guidance and supports community engagement. Additional financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Ford Foundation and MAC AIDS, among others.
About Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a fourteen-time Grammy Award®-winning singer/songwriter/producer, actress, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Since releasing her debut album, songs in A minor, Keys has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits with over 30 million albums sold worldwide. As a philanthropist, Keys co-founded Keep a Child Alive (KCA) which provides AIDS treatment, support, nutrition and love to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.