THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Charlize Theron calls for action against AIDS

Actress and AIDS campaigner Charlize Theron met with Youth Ambassadors on Friday and called for them and their peers to raise awareness on AIDS.

Theron was visiting her native South Africa and met with children from the Youth Ambassador Program. She told them they needed to act as role models for their peers and raise awareness on how to prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa.

"When I see the enthusiasm and dedication of these young people, who are making such a vital contribution to preventing the spread of HIV with support from the Global Fund, I am fired up with hope and optimism," Theron said. "We have made great strides in the fight against the disease in a short number of years and we are getting closer to finally defeating this pandemic. With the necessary funding, we can be the generation that defeats AIDS."

The Youth Ambassador Program trains younger men and women to talk with other children and young adults their age to spread the message about HIV prevention. The program is supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Theron, while visiting the Ugo District and speaking with the Youth Ambassadors, was accompanied by Christoph Benn, the director of external relations at the Global Fund.

South Africa has the highest number of people with HIV in the world. Some recent estimates from the 2011 population census peg the number at 6.4 million, with 2.1 million receiving antiretroviral treatment, which is higher than any other country in the world.