by DATA - Apr 27, 2005
Actor Brad Pitt over the weekend visited AIDS orphans in Ethiopia as part of a three-day trip organized by the debt, trade and AIDS advocacy group DATA and the U.S.-based ONE Campaign, which raises money to fight HIV/AIDS and poverty, AFP/News24.com reports (AFP/News24.com, 4/27). Pitt met with the children, who have lost one or both parents to the disease, and visited treatment projects as part of a campaign to increase access to antiretroviral drugs in Africa, according to the AP/ABC News. "We have met some incredible people, incredibly poor people, who are fighting back against AIDS and extreme poverty with help from Americans," DATA Executive Director Jamie Drummond said, adding, "We have seen lifesaving anti-AIDS drugs in action, drugs that are only here because of the action of concerned people from all walks of life in the USA, from churchgoers to punk rock fans. Now we must turn the trickle into a flood of effective aid to help Ethiopians and poor people across Africa help themselves" (Mitchell, AP/ABC News, 4/26). Pitt first visited Ethiopia in November 2004 to meet with local HIV/AIDS organizations and eight Ethiopian singers who have collaborated on songs aimed at educating people about the disease and raising money for health programs. Following Pitt’s visit, former South African President Nelson Mandela made Pitt a special ambassador for his "46664" campaign. Mandela launched "46664" — named after his prison number during his nearly 20-year incarceration at the South African prison on Robben Island — in October 2003 as a phone and Internet campaign to raise awareness and money to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/10/04). After visiting Ethiopia, Pitt on Monday traveled to South Africa (AFP/News24.com, 4/27).