Local, Regional Artists Should Become Involved With Fight Against HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, Official Says
Local and regional artists and celebrities should become increasingly involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa because they understand the cultures affected by the disease, Eugene Marillier-Malotana, founder and director of the Southern African Development Community Artists AIDS Festival and the SADC Artists AIDS Support Network, said recently, the Financial Gazette/AllAfrica.com reports. According to Marillier-Malotana, it would be more effective for local HIV/AIDS programs if local and not international celebrities were involved.
Marillier-Malotana has initiated an artists' forum that brings together Zimbabwean poets, musicians and actors to discuss HIV/AIDS issues. The forum allows artists to be "candid" about HIV/AIDS, Marillier-Malotana said, adding that the group hopes to open an HIV/AIDS testing and counseling center for artists. According to the Gazette/AllAfrica.com, the centers will be promoted through the SADC region, and they will help people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Marillier-Malotana said that SasNet will undertake research to provide data and statistics about artists living with HIV/AIDS and in need of antiretroviral therapy. The organization also aims to provide services, information and support to all artists, in particular to those living with HIV/AIDS (Financial Gazette/AllAfrica.com, 8/28).