Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the newly appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, says she does not want to be just a “poster girl” for the organisation but will help break social barriers and stigmas that are attached with the disease.
In her new role, Aishwarya will help raise awareness on issues related to stopping new HIV infections in children and advocate for increased access to anti-retroviral treatment.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe announced Aishwarya’s appointment as the Goodwill Ambassador at a press conference here on Monday.
Aishwarya said it is an “honour and privilege” to be working with the UN and focusing on the work that needs to be done in the area of AIDS/HIV.
“I will initially be like a student, holding the hand of the organisation which will lead me to the real picture on the ground,” Aishwarya said at the press conference.
She said she is exchanging ideas with UNAIDS and STD clinics on what steps need to be taken and how to work with women in educating them and helping them break social barriers and stigmas that are attached with the disease.
Lending her support to social causes like AIDS is not just the clichéd “Miss World” talk, she said, adding over the years she has taken one step at a time and given her voice to causes as effectively as she could at that point in time.
“This is a turning point in my life. I wanted to be associated with the UN at a time when I could actually contribute to the work and the causes,” she said, adding that having the blessing of celebrity will allow her to take her message to a larger audience.