Biggest charity event vs HIV, AIDS set in Vienna

by Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at May 17 2012 05:44 PM | Updated as of May 18 2012 01:44 AM

AUSTRIA – “Life Ball”, Europe’s biggest charity event against HIV and AIDS will be held on May 19 at Vienna’s Rathaus (City Hall).

Already on its 20th year, the event dubbed as “Fight the Flames of Ignorance”, is a blend of traditional ball culture, extravagance, glamour, outlandish and thought-provoking performances, impassioned speeches and emotionally charged moments.

Life Ball tickets are a hot commodity, but everyone can enjoy the spectacular opening ceremony and fashion show.

Hollywood stars Melanie Griffith and Milla Jovivich are set to attend as well as singers Natalia Kills and Aura Dione, musicians Randy Crawford and Al Jarreau and former US president Bill Clinton.

Organizers said the proceeds of the big event will also support the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in babies in Uganda and Zambia.

A portion of the 19 million euros raised in 2011 went to Clinton's organization.

The "Elton John AIDS Foundation" has also benefited from the event since 2005.  Since then, Elton John has been a regular guest at the ball and has the obligation to do the opening speech.

Life Ball founder Gery Keszler has been mobilizing big time politicians and celebrities from all over the world to join in his cause.

“I wouldn't want all the glory and spectacle created by the celebrity guests to take the focus away from the original mission of the Life Ball. Our message is: Give help and hope to others, show solidarity, be tolerant but don't tolerate exclusion and celebrate life. And above everything, our message is to use condoms because they're still the only real protection against HIV and AIDS,” Keszler said.