Bollywood star and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai has been named as an ambassador by the United Nations AIDS agency to spread awareness and prevent HIV among children.
Aishwarya Rai, who is one of the few Bollywood stars to be known internationally, will mainly be the campaigner of Global Plan, launched in June last year, that focuses on India and 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Global Plan aims to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keep their mothers alive, partly through improving access for women to HIV prevention and treatment services.
“Spreading awareness on health issues, especially related to women and children, has always been a priority for me," said Aishwarya Rai in a statement after her appointment as a goodwill ambassador.
The actress said that she would be very involved with the whole process and not just be the poster girl for the cause.
“I will initially be like a student, holding the hand of the organization which will lead me to the real picture on the ground. I don't want to be just a poster girl, don't want to be just part of a platform that will have my face and quotes and voice,” she said.
Aishwarya revealed that she had been approached by United Nations to be part of several programmes and causes several years ago but could never take time out to be active part of these programmes.
“This is a turning point in my life. I wanted to be associated with the UN at a time when I could actually contribute to the work and the causes,” she said.
“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. I strongly believe that every baby should be born free from HIV,” she added.
The actress said that the Global Plan was a ‘hugely positive step’ and hopes she can add to contributions already done for eradicating AIDS in children by 2015.
“UNAIDS' passion is infectious and I would like to contribute to it. This is shared responsibility and we can achieve it and make it possible,” Aishwarya Rai concluded.