Artists Against Aids

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Moscow, Russia, November 2008

The Project “Artists against AIDS” with the support of the United Program of United Nations on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) unites well-known contemporary Russian artists with one principle – the health and future of the nation is important to them.

Today Russia has one of the highest in the number of newly registered cases of the diseases related to HIV- infection in Europe. According to the estimations of international experts, the number of HIV-positive people in Russia can be 1, 5 million people. The epidemic affects not only risk groups, which include, firstly, the users of narcotics, but society as a whole. In 2007, 44% of all new cases of HIV – infection were women. The number of cases with children increased accordingly, as they originated from HIV-positive mothers. Among them are a large number of HIV abandoned children, who fall into orphanages and are deprived of family warmth and care.

Participants in the project consider it their duty not only to speak up about the problem of HIV/AIDS and overcome the specific prohibitions and prejudice in society, but also to help HIV-positive children, who live in orphanages.

For this reason artists have donated their works to be exhibited and sold. This exhibit is planned to be held in the Central House of Artists in the first half November 2008 in Moscow. All income from the sale of art will be given for aid to children in the Lomonosovsky orphanage in the Leningrad region, where there are 2 groups for HIV-positive from infancy up to four years. Today there is a sharp need for 15 beds. All participants in the project will obtain a detailed report about the use of the funds. The release of a catalog and a poster of the exhibition is planned.

Moscow artists Sergey Tsigal, Andrey Bilzho, Galina Bystritskaya, an artist from Uglich, Valentina Maximova, and others have confirmed that they will participate in the exhibition.

The project “Artists against AIDS” is a regular continuation and development of the photography project “Stars against AIDS”, begun by UNAIDS together with well-known photographer Serge Golovach in March 2008. Participating were Tatiana Mitkova, Elena Khanga, Svetlana Khorkina, Julia Bordovskikh, Maria Kiseleva, Dina Korzun, Diana Gurtskaya, Marina Aleksandrova and other women who are successful in their professional and personal lives. These women are certain that it is necessary to actively counteract the spread of HIV – infection. The photography exhibition was shown in Moscow at the Stella Art Foundation and in Rostov-on- Don at the State Public Library.

In the modern world, we all live next to HIV and, until vaccine against the disease is invented, and even though there is treatment, we must speak against discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV.