Actress Elizabeth Taylor Discusses AIDS Activism in AOL Chat
Actress Elizabeth Taylor chatted with America Online members yesterday about a variety of topics on AOL Live, including her work with AIDS organizations such as the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the amfAR fundraiser Cinema Against AIDS 2001, to take place at the Cannes Film Festival. When the topic of AIDS was introduced into the discussion, Taylor said, "If you could see a map like we have at amfAR of the areas in Africa, India, Asia that are black, that means that the areas are dark because the people have been killed off by AIDS and there is no life there. And it is spreading so rapidly that those two continents are in danger. There are areas in our own continent that are in danger and which is frightening. When you see it on the map, the black, creeping out like an octopus. I think it is the worst disease now since the Black Death, the Flu after World War I." Taylor said that "AIDS has become the passion of my life, and I would do anything in the world if I could just wave a wand and find a cure. People have been lulled into a false sense of relaxation because of the cocktail, but this is not a cure. It does help to put people into remission, but it is so costly that not everyone can afford it. And those that can't afford, do read about it and still can't afford to have something that can extend their life. I get upset with the manufacturers of the cocktail that charge so much when there are people who can't afford it. I think that is so cruel." Taylor said that there is "so much more" she wishes she could do for AIDS, but that her osteoporosis makes walking and traveling difficult for her. However, Taylor said she is planning a trip to Africa to discuss AIDS. "Nelson Mandela, my hero, has invited me so many times to go. But is it difficult, it is difficult for a white woman to get up and talk about AIDS because the black man is very personal and private about sex and they would not like some 'white momma' getting up talking to them about their sex life. So we have to try and find ways that I can get the message across to stop it or halt AIDS from moving across Africa without talking about sex which is very difficult," Taylor said (AOL transcript, 5/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.