WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES – A new video by Zach Galifianakis featuring some of the hottest names in Hollywood is getting the message out that if the world comes together, we could be at the beginning of the end of AIDS in just a few short years.
The video, by Galifianakis and the creative team at Funny or Die, uses humor to make the point that while there are a number of fantastical things that won’t come true by 2015, there is one seemingly impossible goal that can become a reality – the beginning of the end of the AIDS pandemic. The video features Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Marisa Tomei, Isaiah Mustafa and Chloë Moretz. It is being released during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., which is being held in the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years.
The new video is part of a campaign by ONE, the nonprofit advocacy organization co-founded by Bono that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing governments to fund smart, effective programs that save millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries. The video closes with a recommendation for viewers to visit ONE.org to sign a petition urging lawmakers to reverse proposed budget cuts to the life-saving AIDS program, PEPFAR, and fulfill America’s commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Michael Elliott, CEO of ONE said the partnership with Funny or Die is an important way to reach new audiences about the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty.
“Of course, everyone knows there’s nothing funny about this disease, but humor can be an extremely effective tool in raising awareness and inspiring action and we’re thrilled to be working with Zach and Funny or Die on this campaign,” he said.
“AIDS has killed 30 million people in 30 years. We finally have the science and know-how to end the pandemic, but it won’t happen unless we make sure the politicians know it is a priority and that effective programs, such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund, must be protected. This video will let us get that word out to millions of people we might not otherwise reach,” said Elliott.
The video campaign follows a major event hosted by ONE on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011, at which President Barack Obama, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Bono, Alicia Keys and others came together to call on political leaders, activists, faith leaders and the business community to unite to help meet three milestones by 2015 that, collectively, could usher in the beginning of the end of AIDS:
- The virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of AIDS by 2015;
- Access to treatment for 15 million people by 2015; and
- The implementation of innovative prevention techniques to drastically reduce new infections by 2015
Progress, Proof and Promise
When AIDS was first discovered 30 years ago, it was a near-certain death sentence for anyone infected. It was not until the advent of life-saving ARV medications that light appeared at the end of the tunnel, at least for those who could access the drugs. Treatment was almost entirely unavailable to the poorest of the poor ten years ago, until world leaders, in response to pressure from activists, stepped up to expand access to treatment in the world’s poorest countries.
The United States, in particular, led the way, creating the landmark PEPFAR program, which worked hand-in-hand with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Thanks to these and other programs, there are 6.2 million people on life-saving AIDS treatment in Africa today, up from only 50,000 in 2002. Also, mother-to-child transmission of HIV can now be prevented in up to 98 percent of cases when HIV positive mothers get access to needed treatment.
The U.S. commitment has been shared by both Republicans and Democrats. President Bush launched a historic program to tackle the AIDS pandemic when he committed $15 billion to create the PEPFAR program, announcing it in his 2003 State of the Union address.
President Clinton scaled up domestic response in the early 1990s, and since leaving office, his Health Access Initiative has convinced major drug companies to dramatically lower the price of AIDS medication for people living in poor countries, allowing millions more to be put on treatment.
President Obama has continued these pledges by making the largest and first-ever multi-year commitment to the Global Fund and by expanding the PEPFAR program.
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization co-founded by Bono and backed by more than 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org.
ABOUT FUNNY OR DIE
Funny Or Die launched in April 2007 and has quickly become the top destination for comedy on the web. The site has over 16 million unique users per month, over 60 million video views per month, and has grown into a vertically integrated 21st century digital studio that produces high quality content over numerous platforms, operating a social media and marketing division with over 4.2 million Twitter followers (#1 Comedy Brand), approximately 1.8 million Facebook fans and devoted followers on numerous social networking and sharing sites. Funny Or Die has become the “place to be seen” for comedic celebrities, and the obvious destination for a daily comedy fix.