Bono, Obama, Bush Drive Awareness of World AIDS Day

Photo: AP

Today is World AIDS Day, but Bono made an appearance yesterday on The Daily Show to begin the commemoration. During his interview, he teased a big announcement that would likely come from President Obama today during an event in honor of the special day.

You can also find Bono and his fashion-statement-making sunglasses on the TIME website (and in the magazine) and with an op-ed in today’s New York Times. In that article, he talks about the hopelessness that greeted an HIV-positive diagnosis a decade ago. “Yet today, here we are, talking seriously about the ‘end’ of this global epidemic,” he writes. Wow.

Indeed, the President did not disappoint. During an event today, President Obama announced an increase — from four million to six million — in the number of people around the globe who will get treatment for the disease. He also set a goal — 1.5 million over the next two years — for the number of pregnant HIV-positive women who will receive anti-retroviral drugs and said funding for treatment in this country will increase by $50 million. He, too, talked about “the beginning of the end of AIDS.”

Throughout his interviews and writings, Bono gives credit to President George W. Bush for his efforts in fighting the disease. He, too, contributed an opinion article today for The Wall Street Journal. “There is no effective way to oppose the enemies of freedom without also opposing the shared enemies of humankind—disease and poverty,” he writes.

Bono is also the founder of ONE, an advocacy group, and (Product)RED, a fundraising campaign. ONE has launched a digital campaign, the 2015Quilt, to address the issue (and “deliver an AIDS-free generation by 2015”) using social media.

Separately but related, MTV has some really outstanding photos from World AIDS Day commemorations around the globe.

We really do hope this is the beginning of the end of AIDS.

*Update: We just saw this story on PR Daily about the efforts from communicators across the country.