Donata Meirelles, Brazilian Fashion Icon, Continues to Support AmfAR
Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, 77.3 million people have contracted HIV, 35.4 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses, and more than 17 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The epidemic has been devastating for the world, and according to the most recent comprehensive surveys in 2017, there are still an estimated 36.9 million people living with HIV. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of various organizations such as amfAR, the number of deaths associated with the pandemic is on the decline. According to the 2017 reports:
- About 21.7 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy, up from 17.2 million in 2015 and only 8 million in 2010.
- 8 million people became newly infected with HIV – a decline in annual new infections of 18 percent since 2010.
- Annual deaths from AIDS-related causes have declined by almost 48 percent over the past 10 years, from 1.8 million in 2007 to 940,000 in 2017.
With continuous efforts of AIDS researchers, paired with the financial assistance of individuals and organizations around the world, the hope is that we will continue to see a decline in the number of people affected by HIV and AIDS. Recently, amfAR has made great strides in its efforts towards “Making AIDS History,” specifically with the assistance of philanthropists such as Donata Meirelles.
AmfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, is a nonprofit based in New York City. Its mission is to “end the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research.” Since its opening in 1985, the organization has invested more than $517 million into its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide. It is recognized for “advancing efforts to prevent HIV infection in those who are vulnerable and [improving] treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, with the ultimate goal of eradicating the virus.”
Meirelles Attends AmfAR’s São Paulo Inspiration Gala
Meirelles is an avid supporter of amfAR. She is most well-known as the former style director of Vogue Brazil. She was also previously the host of the Vogue TV program “Quero Ja” (“I Want”) and fashion director of the Daslu store. Her fashion career began when she started running the Daslu Boutique in 1990. Later, in 2005, Meirelles became the editor-in-chief of Vogue Brazil.
Over the last eight years, Meirelles has been an attendee of amfAR’s São Paulo Inspiration Gala, a star-studded black-tie event featuring a cocktail reception, dinner, awards presentation, live auction, and entertainment. The Inspiration Gala series was created as a joint effort between Josh Wood Productions and amfAR to celebrate men’s style, while simultaneously raising funds for amfAR’s AIDS research programs. Since its launch in 2011, the benefit series has raised over $11.5 million for AIDS research. In addition to the São Paulo Gala, amfAR hosts events in Antibes, New York City, Milan, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong.
On April 4, 2014, Meirelles was presented with the Humanitarian Award at amfAR’s fourth annual São Paulo Inspiration Gala. She was recognized for her commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as her dedication to other humanitarian causes. In 2016, when Meirelles took the stage, she spoke out against prejudice. She spoke openly about her support of the foundation and its dedication to assisting all those around the world affected by AIDS and HIV. Most recently, in 2018, Meirelles presented the amfAR Award of Courage to Brazilian television presenter Sabrina Sato.
Not only does Meirelles attend the annual event to support the cause, but she also continuously encourages her online followers to support the amfAR Foundation. She recently posted a headline by the New York Times (@nytimes) that read: “An HIV patient is said to have been cured for just the second time. The success may guide scientists to a new strategy for ending AIDS.”
Meirelles then added her own commentary: “I am very happy to read the news about the second AIDS cure case. Eight years ago, I was introduced to amfAR by a friend. I was very moved by the cause and the relentless pursuit of the cure of AIDS. Since then, my family and I have been actively involved in the cause in many ways. I’m really glad we’re on the right track.”* With her more than 463,000 followers, Meirelles is helping the foundation gain recognition and funding.
AmfAR: Countdown to a Cure
In 2014, amfAR launched its Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, which is aimed at developing a scientific basis for a cure by 2020. The initiative focuses on addressing key challenges associated with AIDS/HIV research, including: “pinpointing where so-called reservoirs of persistent virus are located, determining how they are formed and persist, quantifying how much virus is in them, and eradicating the reservoirs from the body.”
The foundation itself has identified a $100 million investment strategy in support of the initiative, including $20 million to create the amfAR Institute dedicated to HIV Cure Research. In addition, amfAR plans to award grants totaling $80 million in support of research teams around the globe.
The organization hosts additional worldwide initiatives including the GMT initiative – which is dedicated to providing HIV/AIDS assistance to men who have sex with men and transgender people, specifically in countries with low access to AIDS support – and TREAT Asia – an initiative aimed at creating communication networks in Asian countries aspiring to treat HIV.
In 2017, amfAR’s revenue was $52,276,906 – 65 percent of which was collected from fundraising events. Therefore, the events are a crucial source of funding that allows the organization’s research to continue. With assistance from philanthropists such as Meirelles, amfAR is on track towards its 2020 goal of “Making AIDS History.”
For more on Donata Meirelles charitable work, follow her on social media.