Social networking sites help raise awareness of World AIDS Day

In honor of World AIDS Day today, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and major companies such as Nike have teamed up with Product (RED) — a concept started by Bono and Bobby Shriver–to help raise funds to fight against HIV in Africa.

When consumers purchase (RED)-branded products, whether it is a red Nike shoelace or a Gap tee-shirt, a percentage of the profit from the sale goes to the Global Fund. To help spread the word, Twitter users can add the hashtag #red to their tweets and the message they update will be displayed in red to followers. Users can also turn their tweets red by adding the hashtag #laceupsavelives. In addition to Twitter, links to information about (RED) and its partners are featured on Facebook, Google and many other sites. In support of World AIDS Day, Alicia Keys will be performing live on YouTube today at 8:00 p.m. EST.

“On this World AIDS Day, there is improvement in HIV detection across sub-Saharan Africa,” said CEO of (RED) Susan Smith Ellis. “The percentage of pregnant women who were able to take an HIV test increased from 17% in 2007 to 28% in 2008. We have every reason to believe that the percentage figure will increase substantially again this year (the final data are not yet available).”

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