The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has appointed the celebrated actor Huang Xiaoming as a UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for China. The announcement was made at an event at the UNAIDS office in Beijing on Monday.
"Huang Xiaoming is an inspiration for millions of people," said Catherine Sozi, UNAIDS Country Director for China. "I am thrilled that he will leverage his amazing platform as a gifted actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist to help end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. His efforts can re-energize HIV prevention and transform many lives in China and beyond."
The nomination ceremony on Monday included a panel discussion with young people on HIV prevention. Football champion and UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for China Shao Jiayi participated in the event and made congratulatory remarks.
In his new role, Huang will raise awareness on the importance of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, with a special emphasis on HIV prevention among young people.
"I am honoured by this appointment as UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador to China," Huang said. "I am glad that I can play at a least a small part in helping to intensify efforts on HIV prevention. My hope is young people understand the need to take proper measures to protect not only their own health but the health of the people they love."
Huang began his acting career in 1998 as the star of the television drama, Love is not a Game. He rose to prominence for playing the lead role in the TV series on the Han emperor. He has also starred in numerous movies that have been box office hits in China.
Huang's humanitarian work has included donating funds to support post-disaster reconstruction following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province and adopting the twin pandas, Pingping and An'an, that were born and rescued after the quake.
There were 654,000 people living with HIV in China by end of September 2016, according to UNAIDS. Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV.
Thirteen young people ages 15-24 are infected with HIV every hour in Asia and the Pacific. In China, 7.1 per cent of people living with HIV are young people, UNAIDS said.