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Classic British rock band Queen has performed to tens of thousands of Ukrainians in a charity concert to raise money and AIDS awareness in the ex-Soviet republic.

The band – whose singer, Freddie Mercury, died of an AIDS-related illness in 1992 – are known for their support of HIV/AIDS causes, and timed the concert to coincide with the release of their latest album, “Cosmos Rocks”.

“We’ve been asked to come here and we are very happy to do what we can to raise the awareness of AIDS and also to kick off a new tour,” singer Paul Rodgers told The Associated Press before the concert last week. “Awareness is the first step towards defeating the problem.”

Proceeds from the concert will go to an orphanage in Kiev that specializes in HIV positive children, and the event was organized by activist Yelena Franchuk, the wife of Viktor Pinchuk – organizer of AIDS charity concerts in the country by Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Deep Purple.

According to the Associated Press, Government officials say nearly 77,000 people have been registered in the Ukraine as HIV-positive since the first reported case in 1987, but some experts believe the epidemic there is far greater, with as many as a half-million people — 1 percent of Ukraine’s population — infected.

Source: Associated Press

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