NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of World AIDS Day 2012, the MAC AIDS Fund, recently recognized by Funders Concerned About AIDS as the top U.S.-based corporate philanthropic HIV/AIDS funder, calls on the HIV community to prioritize the most marginalized, underserved populations at the highest risk of infection in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
"We're never going to end the AIDS epidemic without focusing on the people the disease is most likely to take advantage of, like sex workers, intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men," said Nancy Mahon, Global Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund. "Thanks to the incredible work of the medical community, social scientists and care providers, we've discovered tactics that, when executed properly, can significantly curb the spread of this disease. Now that we've identified the weapons in our arsenal, it's our responsibility in the funding and advocacy community to make sure we can use them."
Research shows that initiatives reaching at-risk populations have been successful when undertaken. For example, harm reduction interventions targeting intravenous drug users like the Fund-supported syringe exchange program at Citiwide Harm Reduction in the Bronx, New York have been shown to not only reduce the incidence of HIV in the drug using population, but do so in a cost-effective manner at less than $1 per sterile syringe. Citiwide also connects clients directly to case management, health, mental health and pharmacy services on-site, helping HIV-positive clients receive medical care and stay in treatment.
Another effective intervention implemented by Fund-supported partners like mothers2mothers in South Africa and Nepal's SAATHI offers pregnant women with HIV a dose of treatment in order to prevent transmission of the HIV virus to their unborn child. While the success of this approach is almost universally accepted, the benefit to the community is severely diminished if it can't be given to all of those who need it: in this case, fewer than half of pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries are able to receive this care due to a lack of resources.
This gap between needed and available resources remains a critical barrier to overcome: only through radically increasing the funding of efforts to target those most affected by the disease and scaling up proven interventions will we ever see the end of the AIDS epidemic.
"Like the creation of our innovative 100% giving model on the sales of our VIVA GLAM products, the MAC AIDS Fund has always been at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS," said John Demsey, Chairman, MAC AIDS Fund and Group President, The Estee Lauder Companies. "We urge the philanthropic community to join us in making a substantial investment in the fight against HIV and encourage everyone around the world to honor the HIV/AIDS community by making a difference on World AIDS Day so that we can realize an AIDS-free generation in our lifetime."
ABOUT THE MAC AIDS FUND
The MAC AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. Recently recognized by Funders Concerned About AIDS as the top corporate giver in the arena and the number one philanthropic funder of domestic U.S. HIV/AIDS work, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised more than $270 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of MAC's VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.macaidsfund.org.
SOURCE MAC AIDS Fund