Feature story

Egyptian actor Amr Waked appointed UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Middle East and North Africa

08 July 2010

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Renowned Egyptian actor Amr Waked has been named Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). A popular star, Mr Waked is an influential figure with teenagers as well as adults across the region. Now, he joins UNAIDS' commitment to speaking out against stigma and discrimination of people living with or affected by HIV.

"I will work with all partners, including the media, to raise awareness about the disease, reduce stigma, discrimination and fear, and deliver correct messages to people who don’t know about AIDS and who keep judging others without knowing about their lives and circumstances,” said Mr Waked.

“People living with HIV have to get the support they need. It is not the disease that kills you; it is the people around you who refuse to understand and help you, who kill you,” he added.

In his capacity as Regional Goodwill Ambassador Mr Waked will help raise awareness on issues related to HIV and give greater voice to the needs of people living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa. He will also address issues of stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and key populations at increased risk of infection and advocate for rights of people living with HIV and young people.

Mr Waked has taken part in the “Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS” campaign with UNICEF. He also contributed to the production of two docudramas on HIV as well as participating in UNICEF’s SOTNA (“Our voice”) programme with young people, and he also mainstreamed HIV and Hepatitis C prevention messages into the TV series "lahazat harega" (Emergency situations).

Speaking of Mr Waked's appointment, Dr Hind Khatib, Regional Director, UNAIDS MENA Regional Support Team, said, “Amr has chosen to be the voice of the voiceless. He has been interested in this field for a long time and has contributed to the production of a documentary that reflects the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa. We count on him to work with us in advancing the AIDS agenda in the region.”

Mr Waked will start his work next week in the city of Dubai where representatives from the Region will convene to discuss where MENA is in its efforts to scale up universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

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