Jake Glaser describes how recent advances against HIV & AIDS have affected the philanthropic community.
Jake Glaser, the founder of Modern Advocate, ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Foundation, and member of the End AIDS Coalition, describes how recent advances against HIV & AIDS have affected the philanthropic community.
Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
“I think it’s a double-edged sword. I think the success that we’ve seen against HIV and AIDS has allowed for some of our walls to come down. I think our ability to be able to treat, for example, mother-to-child transmission [has been remarkable]. We’ve been able to greatly reduce the rate of transmission of HIV from mother-to-child (MCTC), [which is phenomenal in terms of philanthropy because,] in a philanthropist’s eyes, we always have to find a way to create a new and exciting dialogue, in order to finish what we set out to do.
I think an important message for everyone to understand is that, as much as we’ve succeeded in a lot of ways around HIV and AIDS, it’s not done until we’re done. We still have massive hurdles to overcome. If you want to talk about an issue such as prevention of MCTC, there are still 400 babies who are infected every single day. That’s unacceptable. If we don’t excite people in new, creative, and innovative ways to get involved in this fight, and make it relevant to philanthropists to steer funds, to develop new and innovative marketing and branding tools, and opportunities to educate and reimagine what that education looks like to a mass population using tools like social media, then it becomes hard for them to feel that they are relevant to the space.
One thing that I am very excited to be a part of with the End AIDS Coalition is the opportunity to re-excite that community, and the opportunity to find collaboration and teamwork in a way that we’ve never seen before. And, do it in a way with consumer-facing initiatives, using brands such as Kenneth Cole, and other lifestyle brands, to be able to show the world that being able to overcome an issue like HIV and AIDS is something that is incredibly exciting. We have the opportunity to overcome one of mankind’s greatest hurdles.
If you think about the success we’ve had in HIV and AIDS, the collaboration that took us to [that] success was 100% based on the dialogue and transparency and sharing of information among researchers. The success we have now did not come from only a community of HIV-positive and HIV-negative researchers working with themselves. It came from HIV researchers working with researchers from cancer, malaria, hepatitis; from all disciplines of medicine, to leverage what they know, and the processes that they use, to be able to find the success that we’ve had with HIV.
The same action is going to be needed to overcome this [disease] by 2030. For philanthropists around the world to be able to become a part of developing a roadmap to end HIV and AIDS [means]—because it’s steeped in the immune system—they are going to be a part of developing a roadmap that’s going to overcome an incredibly long list of other health-related issues. And so, the excitement that needs to be drummed up is one that really speaks to empowering and growing humanity in a very healthy and positive way so that we have an amazing future.
[A person] like Kenneth Cole [who has] been involved in this as a philanthropist and as a business owner and an influencer in so many ways, is someone that really fits, in every way possible, to lead a coalition like the End AIDS Coalition. [He will] push people to collaborate and [he is] able to make sure that the transparency and innovation that is needed to implement the programs that we are setting out to identify and leverage with our partners, is done in the right way.”