On the screen, she is a brave policewoman or a miserable widow,
while in reality, she has other identities: Good Will Ambassador of
the Ministry of Health on HIV/AIDS and member of the Leadership
Council of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA).
Jiang Wenli, famous Chinese actress who has starred many
prime-time TV series, will attend the meeting of the GCWA and the
International Women's Summit slated for early July in Nairobi,
Kenya and have site visits there.
Jiang previously attended similar meetings in Thailand and
Britain. "From the exchanges, we can learn each other's experience
in the fight against AIDS," she said.
Jiang started her job as a Good Will Ambassador in 2003 together
with several other singers and actors.
"I knew little about AIDS at that time when officials with the
Ministry of Health approached me," the actress was frank. Theme of
the World AIDS Day that year was "women and HIV/AIDS". She was told
later that the Ministry also asked some other actresses but were
turned down because of apprehension of prevalent bias.
Thus Jiang learnt her first lesson on the importance of
promoting AIDS-related knowledge among the public. "A college
graduate, I live in the metropolis of Beijing and travel all over
the world, yet I still have little knowledge about AIDS, let alone
The first HIV infected she met were a family, with whom she was
arranged to take photos. The mother was infected during a blood
transfusion. She later passed the virus to the father and the baby
she delivered later was also tested as HIV positive.
"The mother would shed tears at the mentioning of her disease
and the then 7-year-old kid, with herpes already appearing on his
neck, was crying all the time," recalled Jiang bitterly.
Sitting in a car back home, Jiang was silent. "I was so sad,"
she frowned, "AIDS is spreading quickly and more people could be
infected. It is urgent to tell them how to protect themselves from
this deadly disease."
As a Good Will Ambassador, her major task is to participate in
activities on each World AIDS Day and visit the infected and their
families whenever she has time.
She still remembered that in 2003, when she just began the job,
she flushed with embarrassment when distributing condoms in a
shopping center in downtown Beijing.
Two years later, however, she finished her book Wenli on AIDS to
share with readers her understanding of the disease, which used to
be labeled as stigma.
And she wants to do more.
She wants to adopt an orphan left by AIDS victims, but she
hasn't found a suitable one. "Many orphans are too old to adapt to
a new environment," she said.
She has been planning to make a TV serial for three years to
show the audience the plight of HIV infected, their families and
children. She said that she will start on it after her Africa
She has also an idea to set up a "celebrities' cabin", where
they can donate their belongings for sale to help AIDS/HIV-affected
"Someday the little cabin may be developed into a charity
foundation where all people can contribute to the combat against
AIDS," she said.
(Xinhua News Agency July 1, 2007)