WASHINGTON (AP) — Alicia Keys says she wants to spark a global conversation about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The Grammy Award-winning singer says that when she traveled to Africa and India she felt connected to women with the virus because “they looked like they could be my sister, or they could be my aunt, or they could be my cousin.”
Keys is working with the Kaiser Family Foundation for “Empowered,” a campaign launched last month to educate women about HIV, which causes AIDS, and provide grants to community-based projects that will do that.
According to Kaiser, one in four of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are women. Women of color account for about two-thirds of new HIV infections among women.
The campaign includes outreach through public service ads, social media and community programs. It encourages women to learn about HIV and AIDS, talk with family and friends, protect themselves and loved ones, get tested, prevent spreading the disease and stay on treatment.
Keys is also leading the Empowered Community Grants program with Kaiser and AIDS United that will give up to $25,0000 grants to community-based projects that focus on women and HIV.
The campaign is scheduled to run for five years and publish a report annually on women’s experiences with HIV/AIDS and examine cultural changes regarding education, misconceptions and the stigma associated with the disease.
Keys is co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, which provides AIDS treatment, food and other support to children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.