Buy a lipstick, help save lives

I bought my first Viva Glam lipstick from MAC Cosmetics in 1994. It was a burgundy red with drag queen RuPaul as the spokesperson. The lipstick remains one of my favorites to this day (I have probably gone through about five tubes of it).

Imelda Lerma (fifth from left), ELC country manager, and MAC Cosmetics
Philippines brand manager Gay Lao-Chen (left) lead the handing of the mock
checks representing the company’s donations to the Aids Society of the
Philippines represented by Dr. Jojo Sescon and Positive Action Foundation
Philippines Inc. represented by Moses Ayuha. Also present are officers and
representatives from MAC Philippines and the two organizations.

The lipstick gave birth to the MAC Aids Fund, a collaboration between the brand's founders Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan and MAC artists. It was an effort to make a difference in the world with a community outreach for HIV/AIDS.

Twenty years, more lipsticks and several spokespersons (including Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and many others) later, the MAC AIDS Fund, which has relied on 100 percent of sales from all Viva Glam lipsticks, has raised more than $340 million.

On Dec. 1, MAC Cosmetics Philippines showed a documentary entitled It’s Not Over by Andrew Jenks at a Makati theater. The documentary shows the reality of HIV-AIDS during this time. Most people think AIDS is an ’80s disease that mostly affects homosexuals. The alarming truth is young people account for over 30 percent of new infections.

The Philippine situation

The Philippines is one of nine countries that has increasing cases of HIV/AIDS, with an annual growth of 50 percent increase in cases annually.

Data from the Philippine HIV/AIDS Registry showed in January this year alone, 118 of the new HIV patients belong to the 15 to 24 age bracket. They were among the 448 fresh HIV cases reported for the first month of 2014.

Andrew Jenks with Sarang, who is a homosexual in a country
where being gay is not only frowned upon but illegal.

Half of the 448 victims, or 224 patients, are from Metro Manila, while 16 percent come from the Calabarzon region, seven percent from Davao region, and four percent from Western Visayas. The rest of the regions recorded less than one to two percent of HIV cases this year.

From 1984 to January 2014, 36 people below 15 years old were infected with HIV. For the same period, 429 people aged 15 to 19 acquired the virus, as well as 3,467 in the 20 to 24 age bracket.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has also noticed this disturbing trend, saying new HIV infections “now occur at a younger age.” The agency noted in some areas, one in three persons most at risk are in the 15-17 age group.

The film

It's Not Over tells the story of three young people from different parts of the world who are living with or are affected by HIV/AIDS in very different, yet astonishingly inter-connected ways. During his year-long journey, Jenks visits India, South Africa and the United States to experience the epidemic first hand.

Paige was born with HIV.

Paige from the United States is a college freshman who was born with HIV. She is social entrepreneur and an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness. Paige uses her experience to challenge assumptions and prejudice. Andrew meets Paige at a dance marathon in Indiana and they take off with her two roommates for a road trip to visit her boyfriend.

Sarang is openly gay in India where homosexuality is outlawed. Sarang’s new play, addressing gay marriage, makes its way from rehearsal to public debut. Jenks also meets Sarang’s boyfriend, witnesses the personal stories of HIV+ orphans and experiences the sad realities of life in the infamous Falkland Road of Mumbai.

Lucky is working to keep young South Africans out of the type of trouble that he ran into at an early age. He acts as a tour guide around Khayelitsha, the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa with some of the highest rates of HIV in the country.

The film is available on streaming movie platforms—Netflix and SnagFilms—and on Pivot TV for audiences in the United States. The film launched worldwide on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

Lucky’s mission is to help increase awareness about
HIV/AIDS among young people in South Africa.

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS that leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response to HIV and AIDS, welcomed the film and called on young people to take part in healthy discussions about the matter.

“Young people will lead us to an AIDS-free generation. By ensuring adolescents and young people are aware of and have access to HIV services, we are not only saving lives, but also investing in a healthier future for generations to come,” said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS. “We are proud of the strong partnership we have with the MAC AIDS Fund to advance global efforts toward ending the AIDS epidemic.”

The subjects in the film are active with MAC AIDS Fund grantees including Humsafar, Grassroot Soccer and Camp Kindle. These partners have received grants to help fight HIV/AIDS through the MAC AIDS Fund, which raises funds exclusively through the sale of MAC’s Viva Glam Lipstick and Lipglass.

Remember, every purchase MAC Viva Glam Lipstick and Lipglass goes toward helping others.

Please join the conversation:


@MACAIDSFund (Twitter only)

@MACcosmetics (Twitter and Instagram)

@AndrewJenks (Twitter only)

Watch the trailer:

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