Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bill Clinton talks about AIDS on MTV

Bill Clinton introduced the film "Pedro," an MTV film about Real World cast-member Pedro Zamora. It is an intimate biopic tracing the HIV-positive immigrant's rise from humble roots to becoming one of the most instantly recognizable HIV/AIDS activists in the United States as a result of his high profile role on MTV's pioneering reality television series.
"Fifteen years ago, when Pedro Zamora appeared on MTV's 'The Real World,' he changed the face of HIV/AIDS in America.

For the first time, viewers saw an openly gay, HIV-positive young person on national television. As we followed his story each week, Pedro humanized the growing epidemic, reducing our ignorance and fears and increasing our determination to act. By living bravely and allowing MTV to show his story, Pedro set an extraordinary example of what a tremendous impact a single person can make in our world."

President Clinton wrote these words for Reuters' Great Debate blog on Wednesday. Read his full blog here.

This is not the first time Clinton has been vocal in his support for Zamora and his story — Clinton once phoned Zamora and his family as the season came to a close to thank the young Cuban immigrant for his activism. Shortly following his death (he died the same night of the show's season finale from complications due to his illness), Clinton made a televised address, publicly thanking the late icon for his contribution to AIDS education — which was Zamora's mission ever since he learned that he had contracted the virus at 17.

More recently, President Clinton spoke with MTV news correspondent Sway, about Zamora's legacy, stating that his endorsement of Zamora "was important ... because not everyone had known somebody who died of AIDS, as Hillary and I had known. Not everyone was comfortable even talking about it, and he changed everything, at least for younger people."

Watch his interview with MTV's Sway below:

Clinton closed his Great Debate post by writing, "We must remember what Pedro taught us: One person can change the world — and whether or not we are living with HIV or know someone who is, we all have a responsibility as global citizens to do whatever we can. Life is short enough as it is. No one should die from a disease that is both preventable and treatable."

Watch Bill's introduction below:

Here is a link to Bill Clinton's AIDS initiative and here is a link to "Pedro: The Movie." Go see it!

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