NEW YORK (January 17, 2013) – After being crowned Miss Universe 2012 last month, Olivia Culpo has hit the ground running with a packed schedule that includes countless appearances on her world tour. One of her first stops was here at the AID FOR AIDS office in New York on Wednesday January 16th, where after undergoing training from our “Cuanto Sabes?” HIV education program, she was named as the AID FOR AIDS Ambassador for HIV Prevention.
The training session, developed by Lupe Aguais, Director of HIV Education Programs, focused on providing accurate information as well as dispelling common myths about HIV and AIDS. In addition, the training emphasized capacity building to help reduce stigma and discrimination against people with HIV. Joined by an enthusiastic group of volunteers, Olivia eagerly listened and participated in all parts of the program.
However, the highlight of Ms. Culpo’s visit was a lunch spent with a group of clients from our New York Immigrant AIDS Link (NYIAL) Program. During this lunch hour, a diverse group of immigrants with HIV were able to share their stories with Miss Universe and help put a human face to the epidemic.
One of the clients at the table encouraged Ms. Culpo by saying, “The message I would like you to take away from this experience and convey to a wider audience is that education is key. There are many people, especially young people, who need to be aware of the facts about HIV. Education will not only help us prevent new infections from happening, it will also help us all to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by the members of our communities.”
As Ms. Culpo spends the next year traveling around the world, she will take away our message and increase visibility for this cause by becoming a spokesperson for the countless number of people affected by the HIV epidemic, people who are often overlooked and left without a voice.
Speaking of her experience, Ms. Culpo had the following words to share, “I feel very touched and moved by the personal stories of others. I am confident that I can bring change and spread more information to make a difference in the world and to counteract the stigma behind HIV and AIDS.” All of us here at AID FOR AIDS are honored to count Miss Universe among our allies.
The Miss Universe Organization has been a strong supporter of AID FOR AIDS for the past three years. As part of AFAI’s HIV prevention tours in Latin America and the Caribbean, Miss Universe 2009, Stefania Fernandez, traveled with the AFAI team to the Dominican Republic promoting AIDS awareness. Similarly, Miss Universe 2010, Ximena Navarrete, spent her trips to Panama and Dominican Republic speaking to young people about HIV prevention. Olivia will follow in their footsteps by spreading AFAI’s mission and becoming an instrumental part of our global outreach effort.
About AID FOR AIDS
Founded in 1996, AID FOR AIDS International (AFAI) works to improve the quality of life of people with HIV or AIDS in developing countries, as well as immigrants in the US. They are also committed to fighting against stigma and discrimination and to stopping the spread of HIV. AFAI provides access to treatment, education, HIV prevention strategies, and tools for advocacy. The organization also runs the largest redistribution program of HIV medication in the world through which they recover unused, unexpired life-saving medication that otherwise would be wasted and re-distribute it to those without access to medicine in the developing world.
ABOUT THE MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION
The Miss Universe Organization, a Donald J. Trump and NBCUniversal joint venture, is a global community empowering role models of beauty, health and leadership for young women of today. The organization is dedicated to partnering with charities around the world, and to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness by focusing on women’s health issues. For more information, visit: http://www.missuniverse.com.
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