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Celebrities raise consciousness and funding on World AIDS Day


U2 front man, Bono, middle, poses with fellow band member, The Edge, left, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, right, and New South Wales state Premier Kristina Keneally at an event to launch World Aids Day in Sydney.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Elton John attends the morning conference at The Independent newspaper editorial office in London, Nov. 30, 2010. John is the guest editor of the special World Aids Day edition of the British daily paper, due out on Dec. 1.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Panha, 8, suffering from diarrhea uses a bucket at the special ward at the National Pediatric Hospital for HIV/AIDS, Feb. 12, 2010 in Phnom Penh. About 170,000 Cambodians live with HIV/AIDS and more than 60,000 children are orphaned by the disease.

When I was younger, much younger, AIDS/HIV was horrifying. It was so scary that people didn’t really talk about it, and that was a big part of the problem. It’s been interesting to see AIDS/HIV become mainstreamed to the point where it’s a popular celebrity cause.

Today, when we talk about AIDS, we often reference rock concerts and famous people sporting red ribbons. Meanwhile, the disease is raging in third world countries. Do you think celebrity endorsement is the best way to raise money for AIDS research and medication for the poor? I sometimes wonder if celebrities are too pretty and too far removed from the terrible reality.

Click to see a World AIDS Day slideshow.