SA's 1st UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador wants to use his role to make a difference

31 March, 2010

Professor Jimmie Earl Perry
CAPE TOWN — South Africa�s first Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS� (UNAIDS) Goodwill Ambassador has called on organisations involved in the fight against the pandemic to join hands to increase the impact of the work being done to reduce new infections. Professor Perry was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Michel Sidibe, at the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management�s fifth annual World AIDS Day gala concert last year.

Professor Jimmie Earl Perry says as a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador and an artist/musician, he would like to partner with various organisations to explore ways of working together to make a serious dent in the country�s current HIV/AIDS statistics. His personal vision is to continue producing more awareness concerts, musical theatre and recordings to spread the message that education is the key to reducing HIV infection rates, as well as helping people living with HIV/AIDS to manage their health.

At a media briefing in January 2010, Dr. Nkhensani Mathabathe, UNAIDS� Partnership Development and Support Advisor in South Africa, stated that, �Professor Perry has demonstrated a commitment to the fight against Aids through his work with the creative arts and we are confident that he will be a compelling and eloquent advocate in fostering continued support for the response. With his status, influence and visibility, Professor Perry will be a useful advocate in HIV prevention and in addressing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.�

Professor Perry is currently the Director of the Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management�s Educational Theatre and Creative Arts Program. He has been involved in HIV/Aids awareness initiatives since the 1980s. According to Professor Perry, �If we are to turn this pandemic around, South Africans have to really understand what the virus is, how it is spread, that it is not a death sentence thanks to medical treatment and to put an end to the fear and stigma of living with HIV.�

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassadors are prominent individuals from the world of arts, science, literature, entertainment, sport and other fields of public life who have expressed their desire to move the Aids response forward. There are eight international Goodwill Ambassadors and three national ambassadors, of which Prof Perry is now one. – Issued by TAC

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