AAN Raises Money For AIDS Awareness in Africa

Silent auction proceeds benefit Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria.

AAN announced today that it has donated $3578.00 to Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria. The auction beneficiary was selected in honor of the Village Voice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series “AIDS: The Agony of Africa.”

Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria is a non-governmental organization of African journalists dedicated to disseminating information about the scourge of AIDS in Nigeria. JAAIDS publishes Nigeria AIDS Bulletin, a monthly e-mail newsletter that includes full-length news stories, feature articles, and information on best practices and linkages with groups doing successful work on HIV/AIDS in other parts of the world. It has also established several e-mail discussion groups (including http://www.egroups.com/list/nigeria-aids and http://www.egroups.com/list/durban2000community ) where people working on AIDS in Nigeria and other interested parties exchange ideas and circulate urgent information about the African AIDS crisis.

According to Mark Schoofs, the author of the Village Voice’s award-winning series on AIDS, “Nigeria is far and away Africa’s most populous country, and already one in every 20 adults is estimated to be infected with HIV. To keep the epidemic from exploding, public awareness is critical. Journalists Against AIDS battles the epidemic by writing stories, of course, but also by fighting for the human rights of HIV-positive people and by educating journalists and other opinion leaders. One of JAAIDS new initiatives is to bring people who are open about having HIV to talk with journalism students. In a society where AIDS stigma is so fierce that infected people can lose their jobs and even their homes, this is an extraordinary project. Journalists Against AIDS is on the front lines. I am gratified that my AAN colleagues contributed to this important cause.”

The money raised on behalf of JAIIDS was collected via a silent auction held earlier this month in Phoenix during AAN’s 23rd annual convention. The auction included 40 items donated by artists, authors, businesses and AAN-member papers. Among the items auctioned were a snowboard from Guinness Beer, a night at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, tickets to Broadway shows, a signed George Rodrigue “Blue Dog” lithograph, and books signed by AAN authors and cartoonists.