MANILA, Philippines - In the fight against HIV/AIDS, the United Nations has turned to K-pop boy band JYJ to bring awareness to the dreaded disease in the Asia-Pacific region, which has an estimated 4.9 million people afflicted with HIV including in the Philippines.
With their huge following, JYJ, composed of Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu, will be “going to make a big difference in the AIDS response through the UNAIDS Ambassadorship,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
“With their incredible popularity and influence in the Republic of Korea and beyond, I count on them to reach millions of young people in this region and worldwide with important HIV messages,” he added.
As goodwill ambassadors, JYJ will be participating in events to “raise awareness around HIV and join the effort to end AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.” They will also use their influence on Twitter and other social networking sites to highlight AIDS issues.
On Twitter alone, the three have a combined 1.43 million followers.
Last Aug. 26, JYJ performed at the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific which was held in Busan, South Korea.
To start their AIDS/HIV awareness campaign, JYJ and UNAIDS launched the “LoveAlways” online campaign “that has taken the Twitter world by storm,” noted the UNAIDS website.
Under this, fans were encouraged to support the program by downloading a Twibbon heart to their Twitter profile and tweet messages that fight HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
It became successful as “LoveAlways” became one of the “fastest-ever growing campaigns," according to Twibbon.
“In the six days of the campaign, more than 32 500 fans showed their support via the Twibbon application; followers of the UNAIDS Twitter account nearly doubled,” said UNAIDS.
“The impact of this campaign with JYJ’s involvement has been just amazing,” said Steve Kraus, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and Pacific. “The reach JYJ has is extremely important in supporting our global goals of ending stigma and discrimination and we are delighted to have JYJ as our Goodwill Ambassadors for the region.”
JYJ member Jaejoong said, “We hope our fans will continue to support us as we work on important AIDS issues with UNAIDS. This is a great start to our work and we are looking forward to more activities where we can speak out about AIDS.”
According to UNAIDS, “Globally, an estimated 41% of people who have recently become HIV-positive are younger than the age of 25. In Asia and the Pacific, young people from key affected populations— including young sex workers, men who have sex with men, and adolescent drug users— face a particularly high risk of HIV infection as well as high levels of stigma and discrimination.”