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Archive for Friday, October 7, 2005

Tea Leoni visits Vietnam as goodwill ambassador

October 7, 2005

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— Tea Leoni visited young Vietnamese at a support center for people who are HIV-positive, promoting AIDS awareness in a country where infection rates are rising.

The 39-year-old actress is on a weeklong visit as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador to help raise funds for the Global Campaign for Children and AIDS, which helps children orphaned or affected by the deadly disease.

Leoni also visited several schools in Hanoi on Wednesday where children were being taught about AIDS, and watched as they performed a skit about the disease.

According to UNAIDS, an estimated 220,000 adults and children are living with HIV, the AIDS virus, in Vietnam - the highest number in the region after Thailand and Myanmar. About 40 percent of all new reported HIV cases are among young people.

While Vietnam previously had one of the lowest reported HIV rates in Southeast Asia, 0.4 percent, infection rates are rising.

"It's my impression that with this relatively low infection rate growing, Vietnam is very poised and ready and committed to stopping HIV/AIDS," said Leoni, who starred in the '90s TV series "The Naked Truth." Her screen credits include "Spanglish" and "Jurassic Park III."

Leoni arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday and visited a charity center that provides care for abandoned HIV-positive children.

She also visited medical clinics that help mothers infected with HIV avoid transmitting the virus to their babies.

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