Kenneth Cole, fashion designer and amfAR chair, has been named UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador.

The appointment was made at a special event held today at the United Nations headquarters in New York, prior to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS that takes place Wednesday through Friday.

“We are entering a crucial phase of the response to HIV and I know that Kenneth can make a significant and powerful contribution towards our shared vision of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS. “His commitment, compassion and resolve will magnify our efforts to include everyone in the progress towards an AIDS-free generation.”

In his new role, Cole will work to rally the global community by continuing his long-standing role as an advocate for an inclusive response to the AIDS epidemic. He will help communicate benchmarks and goals in the AIDS response, including amfAR’s mission of finding a cure for HIV by 2020, in order to realize UNAIDS’ vision of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

“I am confident that if people are put at the center of the AIDS response we can realize one of this century’s greatest humanitarian achievements — the end of the AIDS epidemic,” said Cole. “I am honored by this appointment as a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador. It is my hope to help intensify efforts to end the epidemic for everyone, everywhere.”

Cole, a leading voice in the global response to AIDS for more than 30 years, has been chairman of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, since 2005. He was instrumental in the launch of amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure campaign, which supports amfAR’s new Institute for HIV Research based at the University of California San Francisco. The mission is to accelerate the program towards developing a cure for HIV.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS seeks to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

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