For the first event, Mrs. Abe spoke about AIDS on social media. On April 5–7 Akie Abe took HIV/AIDS-related questions from around the world via Twitter, asking people to tweet their questions using #AkieAbe. The first lady answered select questions via the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s Twitter account (@MTVStayingAlive) on April 11 (see below).
With support from the Nippon Foundation, JCIE’s Friends of the Global Fund, Japan, is working with Mrs. Abe to coordinate the collaboration among the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and partners in Japan. In addition to the Twitter Q&A, a public service announcement featuring Mrs. Abe and a group of young people who are interested in helping to prevent the spread of AIDS will be aired on MTV channels throughout Asia. (*Starting April 10th, the public service announcement will be aired on MTV Japan and on MTV channels across Asia. Click here for more information.)
Mrs. Abe will also be a featured speaker at a Tokyo symposium on April 12 where young people and health experts will come together to discuss public health issues through the lens of HIV. The MTV Staying Alive Foundation will share a few topics from the symposium on its blog as well.
Over the past two years, Akie Abe has been extremely active in efforts to end AIDS. In June 2013, she joined first ladies from across Africa, representatives of UNAIDS and the Global Fund, Japanese researchers, people living with HIV, and young people at a TICAD V (Fifth Tokyo Conference on Africa Development) side event—co-organized by JCIE—to discuss the shared challenges of the fight against AIDS in Africa and Japan. In December 2013, she attended a performance of Puccini’s “La Bohème”—set in present-day South Africa rather than 19th century Paris—by the Isango Ensemble, whose performers have personally faced the blight of TB. At the opening night reception, she congratulated the troupe on their stirring performance, emphasizing the importance of their call to action to end the spread of communicable diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS.
On the domestic front, the first lady also actively engages with people living with HIV in Japan, where she is working hard to break down the stigma associated with the infection. In April 2014, she caused a stir when she participated in a parade calling for respect for LGBT rights and delivered the powerful message that “the fight against AIDS isn’t over.”
What role do you think young people have in holding their decision-makers to account on national and global responses to HIV? #akieabe