hosted by UNAIDS and AIDS LIFE
presented by Chopard
On May 31, 2014, in the run-up to the Life Ball opening ceremony, AIDS LIFE together with UNAIDS – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, invited you to the 4th AIDS Solidarity Gala at the Vienna Hofburg Palace. Under the patronage of Federal President Heinz Fischer and under the auspices of Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of the Italian VOGUE, the gala banquet served as a platform for international key players in the fight against HIV and AIDS and opinion leaders from business, arts and culture, who united during this charitable and inspiring event.
One topic was clearly in the center of the joint efforts: the Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations concerning HIV/AIDS, which states that by 2015, the spread of HIV should be halted and the trend should finally be reversed. Currently, a total of over 35 million people are living with HIV and AIDS. In the last years, this number has increased because more of them have received antiretroviral therapy and thus, the mortality rate has decreased.
Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region most affected by the epidemic. But even there, the number of adults who contracted HIV has dropped by 34% since 2001. The biggest success was achieved in the Caribbean, where new infections could be reduced by 49% since 2001. While prevention and therapy programs are a success in almost all countries and regions in the world, leading to fewer HIV infections, the only regions in the world where HIV is currently advancing are Eastern Europe and Central Asia – and it is advancing in a particularly dramatic way.
This is why personalities like Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States and founder of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as Bill Roedy, Chairman of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, attended the gala. Therefore, the event was ment to motivate by what has already achieved and wanted to make current challenges and problems visible so that they can be a motivation to keep reinforcing the global efforts.
“Year after year, AIDS LIFE succeeds in making a clear statement for open-mindedness and tolerance and against exclusion and disparagement. This is highlighted as they are supported by representatives of Austrian and international partner organizations as well as renowned personalities”, Austrian President Heinz Fischer said.
The house of Chopard was proud to be the “presenting partner” of the AIDS Solidarity Gala for the second time. It has been active in the fight against AIDS for many years. As a partner of Sir Elton John’s annual White Tie & Tiara Ball and the Oscar Viewing Party, Chopard helps all those who are facing big challenges in life. Its owners, the Scheufele family, consider it their obligation to serve the good and fair cause.
“Mr. Keszler’s commitment in the fight against HIV is remarkable and we are very pleased to be a partner of the AIDS Solidarity Gala. The proceeds of the activities around the Life Ball are beneficial for many people who are not on the bright side of life. With our company’s appeal and creativity, we want to raise awareness for HIV and facilitate direct help“, said Caroline Scheufele, co-president and creative director of Chopard, who personally attended the AIDS Solidarity Gala.
Among the 300 guests of the gala: David LaChapelle, Leona Lewis, Courtney Love, Marcia Cross, Vivienne Westwood & Andreas Kronthaler, Kean & Constanza Etro, Margherita Missoni, Carmen Carrera, Tereza Maxová, Billy Zane, Alexa Wesner, Marcel Hirscher, Conchita Wurst, Werner Schreyer, Robert Dornhelm, Alois Stöger or Alexander Wrabetz.
The gala event started with a Pol Roger Champagne Reception at the Schweizerhof courtyard of the Hofburg Palace. It was decorated according to the Life Ball’s motto “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by gardener STARKL and thus presented itself as a sumptuously decorated, exciting garden scenery: gazebos adorned with flowers, elaborately cut box trees, aromatic herbs, flower beds, animal figures as well as a “tree of knowledge”. All this was a perfect way of getting in the right mood – but not only for guests of the gala, as from June1 to 4, it was open to the public.
In the Ceremonial Hall of the Hofburg Palace, guests of the AIDS Solidarity Gala were then served an exquisite gala dinner by Gerstner Catering, a caterer with a long-standing tradition. events by spitz was responsible for the perfect organisation of the gala event while floral masterpieces were created by Zweigstelle – Florale Konzepte & Store.
Performances by the American singer Christina Perri, who became world-famous for her emotional song “Jar of Hearts“, and opera star Thomas Hampson guaranteed high-quality musical entertainment. The evening was hosted by Konstanze Breitebner.
The evening’s highlight was the live auctioning of selected items and unique pieces, among them a high jewellery necklace from the house of Chopard or the Life Ball Audi S1 designed by David LaChapelle.
The proceeds of the AIDS Solidarity Gala and the auction’s profit contributed to the Life Ball 2014′s net proceeds.