Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been appointed an international Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, the United Nations’ joint programme on AIDS and HIV.
The announcement was made at UN headquarters in New York by UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe at the start of the 67th session of the General Assembly.
Aishwarya will help raise awareness on issues related to stopping new HIV infections in children and campaign for better access to anti-retroviral drugs; medications that help slow the growth of the HIV virus which in turn leads to AIDS.
“I am honoured to accept this appointment. Spreading awareness on health issues specially related to women and children has always been a priority for me and now as a new mother I can personally relate to this — the joys and concerns of every mother and the hopes that we have for our children,” Aishwarya told reporters.
Her main focus will be to advocate for the global plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive.
This plan was launched at the UN in June 2011 and focuses on 22 countries including India, which account for more than 90% of all new HIV infections among children.
The new appointment will be one of Rai’s first and most important associations with the United Nations.
Last week, she joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Hollywood actor Michael Douglas at a ceremony in New York to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
Other UNAIDS Goodwaill Ambassadors include Oscar-ominated actress Naomi Watts, singer Annie Lennox and German footballer Michael Ballack.
– UKAsian Staff