Did you know that an HIV+ mother can give birth to a HIV free child? This is one of the facts I learned at a breakfast with Courtney and Chanelle of (RED) while in New York for the Social Good Summit.
Founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, (RED) was established to to get businesses and people involved in the fight against AIDS. (RED) merged with ONE.org last year. While ONE.org deals with the public sector, (RED) is in the private sector providing a sustainable flow of money to fight AIDS.
You may be familiar with (RED) products and events. Apple and Starbucks are two examples of iconic companies that partner with (RED). You can buy a (PRODUCT)RED case for your iPhone. On December 1, World AIDS Day, Starbucks will be donating $0.10 for every espresso sold.
Over coffee and eggs, I learned that no overhead is taken out of donations made through (RED). All funds go to The Global Fund. Over $215 million has been raised to date through the sale of (RED) products and (RED) events. This money has impacted 14 million people and is focused in countries that have highest amount of AIDS impacted communities.
The (RED) model is simple. When consumers like us buy (RED) products, a donation is made on behalf of the company that makes the product (like Apple). Each company has its own contract with The Global Fund, so the percentages may vary. (RED) doesn’t actually touch any of the money.
And (RED) products cost the same as non-(RED) products. The only difference is that up to 50% of profits made from those sales will go to fight AIDS in Africa.
I learned a lot during our breakfast conversation, like how 2/3 of those affected by AIDS are in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and 900 children die of AIDS every day on the continent.
By the end of my meal, it became apparent to me that these statistics were preventable. That an AIDS free generation is possible. In a follow up email, this story was shared with me:
(RED) first met Motselisi in the rural Nyakosoba Village in Lesotho when she was 11 months old, frail and weak without access to medication. Motselisi was put on anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine, and 90 days later, she had been brought back to life and was a healthy, happy baby. Hers is a true story of the Lazarus Effect and the life-saving power of HIV/AIDS treatment, treatment that costs around 40 cents a day in sub-Saharan Africa.
Did you catch that? The medicine that treats someone with HIV or prevents an HIV+ mom from passing the virus to her baby costs $0.40 / day.
Buying (RED) products makes a difference. So does using your voice, raising awareness, tweeting facts and telling these stories.
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