With the holiday season upon us the color red is everywhere. It’s a different kind of red that continues to inspire actress Kelly Rutherford, however. The 41-year-old Gossip Girl star — mom to Hermés Gustaf Daniel, 3, and Helena Grace, 5 ½ months — has partnered with (RED)™ and Bugaboo to draw attention to the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Today, in honor of World AIDS Day, she authored the following entry for Celebrity Baby Blog. In her post Kelly explains why she became involved with this worthwhile cause, while also providing information on how other moms can — and should — help.
Click below to read Kelly’s guest blog.
Courtesy Observer Playground/Photographer Mark Jason
As the mother of two young children, I have found that issues that affect women and children have become increasingly important to me. I feel a bond with mothers around the world, just by virtue of our shared experience, and our tremendous love for the children with which we have been blessed.
That’s why this fall, when I was introduced to (RED)™ through Bugaboo, the company that makes the stroller I push my young children around in, I didn’t hesitate to become involved.
(RED) was created to generate funding from businesses to support the Global Fund’s fight to eliminate AIDS in Africa. While the Global Fund helps people living with HIV in Africa, one of the areas of special focus, because of the unique vulnerability, is mothers and their children.
One of the staggering statistics that I recently learned was that AIDS is the leading cause of death of women of childbearing age globally. And, the issue is particularly severe in Africa where women make up over 55% of adults living with HIV.
As a result, women and children are disproportionately affected by the disease. An estimated 14.1 million children in Africa have been orphaned because of AIDS already and this horrific number continues to grow.
The important part to know about these numbers though is it’s not hopeless, there are inexpensive treatments available to help HIV positive mothers live long, healthy lives and to be there for their children and treatments to help ensure that they give birth to HIV negative babies so this disease doesn’t ravage another generation.
Consider this — Left alone, an HIV positive pregnant woman has about a 40% chance of passing the HIV virus on to her child during childbirth. But, if the woman receives a treatment that costs just $26 during her pregnancy and during birth, the chances are lowered to as little as 1 -2%. It seems like this treatment should be available to everyone, but in many countries where access to this type of medicine is slim and where most people make less than a dollar a day, a $26 treatment is hard to come by.
This is where (RED) and the Global Fund come in. To date, (RED) partners and events have contributed $140 million to the Global Fund to help support AIDS programs in Africa that address testing, counseling, medicine and these types of treatments to help reduce mother to child transmission. These funds have supported programs that have reached more than 4 million people with a variety of services, including providing access to this treatment to more than 80,000 HIV positive pregnant women.
Creating the opportunity for access can have dramatic changes for entire countries. Consider Ghana where in 2006 only 8% of HIV-positive pregnant women received the treatment needed to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to their babies but two years later, in part because of funding from (RED) and the Global Fund, nearly 40% of those Ghanaian women received this vital treatment. This equates to thousands of babies being given a hugely improved chance of being born healthy and an entire generation starting life with a much more positive forecast.
Today on World AIDS Day, I encourage everyone to help however they can. Educate yourself, spread the word, donate, volunteer — whatever you can do. Or, if you’re a mom in the market for a new stroller, know that Bugaboo contributes 1% of their entire revenue to the Global Fund to support these programs. My first stroller for my son was a Bugaboo Frog and I have used it daily and traveled a lot with it – it is so mobile. I am a big fan of my Bugaboo stroller for its beauty and function, and I am proud to be part of bugaboo’s dedication to mothers and children.
There already seems to be a common bond between mothers around the world, but on a day like World AIDS Day, I think one color — (RED) — does truly unite us as we all hope that babies around the world, regardless of circumstance, can be born with this chance at life. Learn more here.
(PRODUCT)RED™ partner Bugaboo teamed up with world-renowned author James Frey to create a one-of-a-kind Bugaboo Cameleon stroller to be auctioned off on eBay. 100% of the money raised will go to The Global Fund. The auction will commence today — click here to help make a difference.