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Give one minute of your life to AIDS

‘46664’, the World Aids Day Concert, organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. will take place in Cape Town, South Africa on 29 November 2003. The aim of 46664 is to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and AIDS and also to raise funds for AIDS charities in Africa. Ivan Grech lead singer of Winter Moods, who is the official spokesperson for this event in Malta spoke about the importance of this event and how the Maltese public can support this initiative.

Many people in Malta are still unaware of what 46664 is all about. Why is it such an important event?

“I think that Nelson Mandela summed up the HIV/AIDS situation perfectly when he recently addressed the International AIDS Conference in Paris. He talked about the fact that a tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa. AIDS today in Africa is claiming more lives than the sum total of all wars, famines and floods and the ravages of such deadly diseases as Malaria. We must act now for the sake of the world. AIDS is no longer a disease it is a human rights issue.”

“46664 will be the largest entertainment event of 2003 featuring the world’s leading rock and pop artists. These include Bono, Queen, Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs and Zucchero The “46664” title for this concert comes from Nelson Mandela himself. It was his prison number while he was in captivity on Robben Island for 19 years. Mandela gave this number to Dave Stewart of Eurythmics and asked him to write a song, which could be used to raise funds for AIDS charities supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The lyrics for the song were initially penned by the late Joe Strummer, the Clash frontman who died of a heart attack last year. Stewart then completed the song with Bono earlier this year. Since then the 46664 campaign has been gathering pace, leading up to the 29 November concert.”

How can the Maltese public contribute to the 46664 campaign?

“Mobile technology is bringing the world closer together and Malta can join millions of others around the world in giving one minute of their life to stop AIDS. Vodafone Malta customers can support this initiative by sending a blank SMS on 46664 to donate 50 cents.”

“Furthermore, one can log on to, the official website of the World Aids Day Concert and make donations online or buy merchandise. Visitors can also download new songs recorded especially for 46664 by top artists such as Bono, Dave Stewart, Queen, Anastacia and Sting.”

How serious is the HIV / AIDS crisis in South Africa?

“HIV/AIDS is a worldwide problem but Africa has been the hardest hit by the virus. 30 million Africans have HIV – and AIDS has so far killed 17 million people in the world’s poorest continent. Every day in Africa alone:

? HIV/AIDS kills 6,500 people;
? 9,500 people are infected with the HIV virus;
? 1,400 newborn babies are infected during childbirth or by their mothers’ milk.

“HIV / AIDS is an international emergency which must be urgently tackled before entire communities fall apart completely. With Vodafone’s telecoms expertise, people in Malta who care about fighting the spread of AIDS, can join others from around the world and contribute to this event. By simply sending an SMS to 46664, Vodafone Malta customers will not only be donating 50 cents but also giving one minute of their life to stop AIDS.”

How will the funds raised be used?

“The funds raised through the 46664 campaign will help the Nelson Mandela Foundation to continue implementing its three pronged strategy of mobilising communities, conducting targeted research and creating AIDS prevention and treatment programmes in Africa.

Only in the last year have people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa dared to hope that they might get access to drugs that will keep them alive. The ‘Larazus’ effect is astonishing – patients on death’s door can be back at work within 2 months of starting treatment. The success rate of Africans taking the life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) is about 80 per cent.

However, the scarcity of treatment results in doctors and families having to make the hardest choice of all – in the community, in the family, who will live and who will die.

These issues can be overcome if the money and the will is there – studies show that it is possible to have successful treatment programmes even in very poor settings, and drug prices that have dropped from $10,000 in the last 2 years can surely be lowered further.”

Why did you decide to become involved in this event?

I was approached by Vodafone, who are one of Winter Moods’ main sponsors, to help generate awareness about 46664. AIDS is a global crisis and I wanted to assist in getting the message across for people to send an SMS to 46664 and make a donation, and make other people aware of the campaign. Each and everyone of us needs to take action and do more for the AIDS crisis, especially in Africa, where thousands of people are dying every day, and the epidemic is raging to epic proportions. The tools of the global village are the internet and telephony systems. Surely it’s now time to use today’s technology to help deal with crises like this.”

I was recently following a webchat on, with Dave Stewart who was talking about the background to this concert. He mentioned the fact that Bob Geldof is describing this event as a virtual Live Aid and that he’s very excited about the global telephone and internet aspects of this campaign. Modern technology can be used to really help people around the world who need assistance.”

For the latest information about 46664 and for further information about how one can help support this global initiative, log on to

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 27th, 2003 at 2:20 am and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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