Mekedes Tesfaye, a UNICEF-supported health worker on the job in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

M·A·C Cosmetics and UNICEF USA's Partnership: Closing the HIV Treatment Gap

Partner since 2003

M·A·C Cosmetics is a longtime supporter of UNICEF in its commitment to achieving an AIDS-free world and works with UNICEF USA to drive awareness of important efforts to advance healthy futures and equal rights for mothers and their children. 

For Mother’s Day 2022, M·A·C Cosmetics announced a renewal of its longstanding partnership with UNICEF with a $1.5 million, two-year grant to help expand and enhance HIV prevention and treatment programs in parts of the world that have been disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, South Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

M·A·C has raised nearly $15 million for UNICEF to date through the global sales of VIVA GLAM lipsticks*. The company created the charity product line at the height of the AIDS epidemic to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The latest grant will also support UNICEF in closing the HIV treatment gap for mothers and children in the hardest-to-reach and most marginalized communities, in addition to supporting the LGBTIQ+ community and people living with HIV around the world.

Helping to drive progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS for nearly two decades

With M·A·C’s support, UNICEF has been able to develop and scale several different HIV/AIDS programs in a number of other countries, helping to drive progress on many fronts, including:

  • preventing HIV transmission from mothers to babies
  • reducing stigma associated with HIV/AIDS
  • raising awareness and educating young people about HIV/AIDS prevention
  • linking children who are living with or were recently diagnosed with HIV to treatment providing continuous, long-term care to individuals with HIV — including facilitating children’s transitions from pediatric to adult care
  • increasing access to HIV testing, antiretroviral therapy and other quality services at the community level
  • researching ways to increase treatment access for the LGBTQ+ community
  • partnering with national governments to improve policies and guidelines for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment

Great gains have been made in the prevention of mother-to-child infections, helping to ensure more mothers live longer lives and that their babies are born without HIV. The proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women on lifelong antiretroviral HIV treatment (ART) has increased from just 17 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2020.

Results in South Africa have been particularly significant — preventing an estimated 7,000 new HIV infections in children, saving at least 2,700 children’s lives and averting an estimated 1,800 maternal deaths — and prompting the government to take action to improve its national prevention and treatment policies and guidelines. More than 80 percent of eligible children now have access to testing and antiretroviral therapy in 18 high-prevalence districts.

A partnership to ‘dismantle health disparities’

Despite progress, new cases of infection still occur at birth and during breastfeeding. Women continue to shoulder the disproportionate burden of new HIV infections around the world. Forty years into the HIV epidemic, AIDS remains the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age.

This disproportionate impact on women reflects deeply rooted inequalities and biases in cultural, social and economic structures that reduce young women’s access to information, services, and opportunities. COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions to HIV services also threaten to reverse hard-won gains against the disease.

“As we celebrate the contributions of women and girls, we must also recognize the urgent need to end the stigma that contributes to inequalities in basic, primary health rights around the world – including the stigma that comes with diseases and the fact that people affected by them are still receiving wrong but strong prejudices,” said Aïda Moudachirou-Rebois, M·A·C Cosmetics' Chief Marketing Officer. “We are so proud of our partnership with UNICEF to dismantle these health disparities and bring the world closer to our vision of an AIDS-free generation – and we’re grateful to our community for purchasing VIVA GLAM Lipstick so we can expand this work further.”

Learn more about how UNICEF and companies work together to create better futures for children.

*No portion of the purchase price is tax-deductible. UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.

Top photo: Mekedes Tesfaye, a UNICEF-supported health extension worker in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, spends her days going into different areas of the city to raise community awareness about HIV prevention and treatment among other health services. © UNICEF/UNI353211/Tesfaye