Government has turned to Hollywood to intensify the battle against HIV/Aids.
This morning, South Africa’s golden girl, Charlize Theron, an Oscar-winning actress born in Benoni and based in Los Angeles added her voice to the campaign against new infections and Aids education.
Addressing the media at Pretoria’s Union Buildings in her guise as the UN Messenger of Peace and accompanied by President Jacob Zuma, executive director of UNAids Michel Sidibe and health minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Theron pledged her support to stem the tide against HIV and Aids.
“It’s always very special for me to come home, even more so to lend a support to the future of this country and that’s the youth of South Africa,” said the strikingly tall and graceful star of films such as Monster and The Devil’s Advocate.
“I’m here today hopefully as one of many in the future to start this conversation on how we can better this fight in a more effective way against HIV and Aids.”
Theron said young people should be empowered to protect themselves when they decide to engage in sex. She added that it was also important to make schools safe for young people. “It has been proven that education helps protect especially young girls from HIV,” she said.
“You can never stop harping about this disease. We have to be there for the youth to change the mind-set so that they can be free to discuss these matters.”
President Zuma was complimentary of the A-list star saying that she had “fresh ideas” on how to tackle the issue. “She has availed herself to us, she is at our disposal,” he said.
Theron said in their meeting they discussed how to make the antiretroviral drugs more accessible and she promised to avail herself for the campaigns.
Motsoaledi said she will return for the relaunch of the Aids programme that saw over 18 million people tested last year.
Motsoaledi pleaded with more men to go for testing given the experience they had last year. “We’re calling on you men to stand up and test. Of the people tested 65% were women and only 35% men. Taboo will diminish when more men stand up.”
Clad in black jeans and a black and gold blouse and sporting her new “pixie cut”, Theron was playful and joked around with the president.
Last year, she adopted a son named Jackson. She remains one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. According to Imdb.com, she is currently filming A Million Ways To Die In The West alongside Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried, directed by Seth MacFarlane.
The film, about a cowardly farmer who seeks the help of a gunslinger’s wife to help him win back the woman who left him, is set to be released next year.
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