News Releases

(PRODUCT)RED launches documentary highlighting Global Fund's fight against AIDS

04 May 2010

New York - This week marks the launch of THE LAZARUS EFFECT campaign to raise awareness of the transformative effect of life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) on people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa. The campaign includes a series of public service announcements (PSA’s), directed by world renowned photographer Brigitte Lacombe, which will air across broadcast and online networks in the coming months and a documentary directed by Lance Bangs and produced by Spike Jonze.

THE LAZARUS EFFECT documentary will premiere on Tuesday, May 4th at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City and will be broadcast for the first time on HBO on May 24th. The initiative is the work of (PRODUCT) REDTM, the Global Fund’s largest private sector contributor.

U2’s Bono, Penelope Cruz, Julian Moore and Benicio del Toro are among those featured in the campaign. The PSAs can be viewed at

THE LAZARUS EFFECT documentary highlights the impact of this life-saving therapy on people living with HIV, whose lives have been transformed from debilitating illness to a healthier, more stable life in as little as three months. It shows how two antiretroviral pills a day that cost around 40 cents can reverse the devastating impact of HIV, bringing renewed hope and opportunity.

The campaign conveys the power of 40 cents by comparing items costing this amount, such as a stick of gum or a smear of lipstick to the value of one day’s worth of antiretroviral medication.

“Our job at (RED) is to engage and enlist new constituencies in this battle against the AIDS pandemic in Africa. THE LAZARUS EFFECT shows what happens when people have access to life-saving medicine,” said Susan Smith Ellis, CEO (RED). “It also shows the impact of smart, targeted aid.”

The Global Fund provides about one fifth of international funding for the response to HIV. The Global Fund finances among other things antiretroviral for 50 percent of the people who currently access this lifesaving treatment in Africa.

“Access to AIDS treatment is absolutely critical to reduce the enormous social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS on households, communities, businesses and national economies particularly in the sub-Saharan region,” said Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “By supporting the most vulnerable populations affected by HIV through access to essential and affordable medicines, we can provide a life-line to improved health and help people build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities,” he added.

The PSA campaign, directed by renowned photographer Brigitte Lacombe features Bono, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Claire Danes, Alek Wek, Iman, John Turturro, Toni Collette, Hugh Jackman, Orlando Bloom, Lucy Liu, Gabourey Sidibe, Kerry Washington, Bryan Cranston, LeAnn Rimes, Jane Lynch, Michelle Rodriguez, Gwen Stefani, Hayden Christensen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Don Cheadle, Ludacris, Common, Benicio Del Toro, Dakota Fanning, Christy Turlington and the Jonas Brothers.

Important progress has been achieved in preventing new HIV infections and in lowering the annual number of AIDS-related deaths. However, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is still rising. By the end of 2008, 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS, 22.4 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The same year, more than 14.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa were estimated to have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Expanded access to aids treatment has been the main cause of a decline in AIDS-related deaths in recent years, with more than 4 million people accessing the medication worldwide by the end of 2008 - a significant increase from 2001 when virtually no-one with HIV was receiving antiretroviral therapy in developing countries. However, out of a total of 9.5 million people in developing and transitional countries in immediate need of life-saving HIV drugs, this reflects access for only 42% of those in urgent need.