Keys brings spotlight to women with HIV

Keys

Alicia Keys says she wants to spark a global conversation about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The Grammy Award-winning singer met with women who are part of an HIV program at United Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday to discuss their experiences with the virus, including the fear and stigma associated with the disease.

Keys, who has also traveled to Africa and India to meet with women who have HIV, said she felt connected to the women there and here because “they looked like they could be my sister, or they could be my aunt, or they could be my cousin.”

And now, she said, she wants to “bridge” the gap between domestic and international conversations about the virus.

Keys is working with the Kaiser Family Foundation for “Empowered,” a campaign launched last month to educate women about HIV and provide grants to community-based projects that will do that.

According to Kaiser, one in four of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States is a woman. Women of color account for about two-thirds of new HIV infections among women.

“Black women are disproportionally affected, making up for the majority of all new infections,” Keys said. “That’s a must-have conversation.”

The campaign includes outreach through public service ads, social media and community programs. Keys has been an advocate for lesser-served countries for more than a decade. She co-founded Keep a Child Alive, which provides AIDS treatment, food and other support to children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.

Rihanna cancels another tour date

Rihanna has canceled another date on her latest tour because she is ill.

Live Nation said the Grammy-winning singer was unable to perform at Monday’s concert in Houston “as a result of illness.” The concert promoter said fans should retain their tickets to use at a rescheduled show.

Rihanna canceled shows in Baltimore and Boston on her “Diamonds World Tour” last month because she was sick.

The next date on the singer’s tour is today in Dallas. She’s supporting her seventh album, “Unapologetic,” which features the hits “Diamonds” and “Stay.”

The birthday bunch

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is 86. Singer Bobby Vinton is 78. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 66. Actress Ellen Barkin is 59. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 50. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 48. Actor Jon Cryer is 48. Actor Peter Billingsley (“A Christmas Story”) is 42. Actor Lukas Haas is 37.

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