“It is a great honour to be working with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation as an ambassador,” she said. “I’m eager to raise awareness of the ongoing global HIV crisis. By empowering young people with knowledge about the disease – particularly women and girls who are disproportionately affected – we can help treat it and ultimately prevent it altogether.”
Leona’s support for MTV Staying Alive comes at a pivotal time in the fight against HIV/AIDS, when millions of young people are at risk of infection and millions more face barriers to their sexual and reproductive health. While reports continue to laud the progress being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the data actually shows that young people, specifically young women and adolescent girls, are still at great risk.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the extremely passionate and talented Leona Lewis join our ranks this year,” said Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation. "Aside from her awesome voice – which we’ll be hearing later in the year – Leona is deeply committed to improving the lives of young people worldwide and especially those most vulnerable which of course includes adolescent girls.
“Currently 90% of new infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa occur in girls. Leona’s role as ambassador to the MTV Staying Alive Foundation could not come at a more crucial moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We’re really looking forward to working with Leona throughout 2017 to raise awareness of HIV and the devastating impact it continues to have on millions of young people globally.”
AIDS is still the biggest killer of adolescents in Africa and the second biggest worldwide. In 2015 alone there were 2.1 million new infections and 7,500 women aged 15-24 became infected per week.
Young girls are being hit particularly hard by the epidemic – in sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of all new infections among adolescents occurred in girls. That’s why, within the 37 youth-led HIV organisations MTV Staying Alive is working with in 2017, they are supporting some projects with a specific focus on women and girls.