Annie Lennox: Devoted to The Fight Against HIV/AIDS
Singing superstar, Oscar-winner and HIV/AIDS activist Annie Lennox gives a personal, passionate interview as this month's cover subject of HIV Plus Magazine.
In the exclusive interview with Matthew Breen, Lennox talks about her first experience with HIV/AIDS, AIDS as a human rights issue, becoming an activist, being a mother, and launching the SING campaign in 2007.
As inspiring and devoted as ever to the cause she champions, check out some of the most memorable excerpts from the HIV Plus article below:
On AIDS as a human rights issue:
“The basic question about human rights is, Do we have the right to have access to medical health care? Here’s the deal: If you have access to money that will pay for private health care, you can have access to treatment. But if you’re poor and you’re in the trap of poverty, you’re put immediately into a life-threatening position. This is very much still the case for millions of people if they can’t get access to antiretroviral treatment and testing and the hand-in-hand pairing of nutrition and treatment.
“I think about mothers—I’m a mother myself, I have two daughters—and I’ve had the access to health care. I think about how women struggle so much for support; in many cases they are taking the burden of raising the children and trying to get them access to food, health care, and education. These are very fundamental things that people in Western countries take for granted to a certain degree. I’m not saying we’re all wealthy, but there’s a huge gap between extreme poverty that I’ve seen in developing countries and poverty—I don’t like to compare poverty, but it has to be said that there is a gap in general terms."
On launching the SING Campaign:
“SING was launched in 2007. I was always trying to contact people and ask, ‘What can I do for you? Can I be of service?’ And eventually I thought perhaps the best thing to do is just to have my own campaign. It’s not a huge organization; it’s just me, ostensibly, and a few people that’ve helped me, and a website. Essentially, wherever I go in some capacity or another, I’m an advocate for the issue and I can talk about it. I can be a spokesperson, a representative, a voice for women who don’t have necessarily have much of a voice. I thought that maybe I could get access to people who were working and doing fantastic things to make transformation, especially with regard to women and children.
“HIV is such a complex can of worms that if someone wants to do something, it’s important for them to identify which strand [of AIDS activism] they should represent, whether it be prevention, treatment, education. It’s better to identify something in particular and home in on that. I thought that because I am a woman my gender gives me a connection to women and other mothers, and that seemed like a no-brainer to me.”
To view films of Lennox’s visits to Africa, to read news about the SING Campaign’s latest initiatives, to get involved, or to make a donation, please visit AnnieLennoxSing.com.
Read the full intervie on HIVPlus.com now.