Bono's (RED) Campaign Sees Red Over Shortcomings

(Photo: )
(Photo: )

A year ago, staff members at the Treatment and Research AIDS Center could barely cope. Patients, unable to find care elsewhere, flowed in from every corner of the country. And if one of them was fortunate enough to find a bed here, she often had to share it.

At the Treatment and Research AIDS Center in Kigali, doctors now have more time for patients, in part because of Red money.

Today, a dozen patients, mostly women, sit in neat waiting rooms, laughing and talking as children play around them. Doctors greet one another as they make their rounds, and take all the time they need to explain the complicated schedule H.I.V. drugs require.

According to the center's managing director, Dr. Anita Asiimwe, doctors spend less time on crises and more time researching how to slow H.I.V. transmission in this tiny African nation, still recovering from a genocide in 1994.

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Dr. Asiimwe thanks an unlikely benefactor for all these improvements: the American shopper.

Just over a year ago, the rock star Bono started Red, a campaign that combined consumerism and altruism. Since then, consumers have generated more than $22 million to fight H.I.V. and AIDS in Rwanda by buying iPods, T-shirts, watches, cologne and most recently -- as anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows -- laptops, with all of them branded "(Product)RED."

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.