Huang Xiaoming adds voice to HIV campaign

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Actor Huang Xiaoming plays a game with children at the launch ceremony of an audio book, "The Bravest Boy I Know," in Beijing on Tuesday. The book, released by the UNAIDS China office, aims to combat AIDS-related discrimination, especially against children. [Photo courtesy of UNAIDS]

In commemoration of Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS China office launched an audio adaptation of the award-winning children's book "The Bravest Boy I Know" on March 6 at the French Institute in Beijing, China. 

The book was launched by Huang Xiaoming, a renowned Chinese actor and the UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador, and the event was attended by representatives from the China National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Beijing Ditan Hospital, the China AIDS and STD Prevention Association, China Red Ribbon Association, the French Embassy, Community Based Organizations, and members of the UN family.

"The Bravest Boy I Know" tells a story about the heart-warming friendship between Xiaoming, an eight-year-old living with HIV and his best friend Xiaoli, sending the critical message that with treatment and support from families, friends and schools, children living with HIV can have a normal and happy childhood, and that children living with HIV have the right to a life free from discrimination as other children do.

"These are children who were born with HIV. They are young people yearning for a better future. The more I listen to their stories, the more I'm eager to do something to help them. I want more people to know more about this community instead of avoiding and discriminating against them," said Huang Xiaoming at the event.

In China, approximately 900,000 people are living with HIV. While the mother-to-child transmission of HIV rate has been reduced to a low level, many children are unable to access the lifesaving treatment. Most of them still grow up facing some forms of discrimination from schools, the healthcare establishment, and society in general.

By launching the new audiobook, UNAIDS aims to disseminate the message of zero discrimination among younger audiences. A short video also comes out with the audiobook, catering to children's needs. Both the audiobook and the video are available for downloading at no cost.

In addition to the official book release, a children's play based on the same story was also performed at the event.

"The UN has committed itself to uphold human rights and dignity for all. Therefore we are urging people to make noise around zero discrimination," said Nicolas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator.

"Discrimination will not disappear without actively addressing the ignorance, practices and beliefs that fuel it. Ending discrimination requires action from everyone", said Dr. Pride Chigwedere, the Senior Policy and Strategy Advisor in the UNAIDS China office.

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