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text Virginia Mammoli photo Valentina Stefanelli

June 21, 2019

Beauty and solidarity

Anlaids and its scintillating charity gala event

It’s an unforgettable evening which has become one of the capital’s most important charity events. A very special occasion on which glamour and solidarity, art and beauty come together to support Anlaids and its fight against AIDS. This is Arte & Aids, held in the magnificent setting of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, whose owner, Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj, is Treasurer of the Lazio Division of this important national organisation. 

As in previous editions, Anlaids involved a prestigious array of celebrities, some of whom - like Pierfrancesco Favino, Giorgio Marchesi, Anna Ferzetti, Ferzan Özpetek, Martina Stella, Giulia Bevilacqua and Nina Zilli - became “charity painters”, creating artworks which were auctioned during the gala evening to raise funds so that the association can continue its mission to share information about and thus prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. This year the works were displayed in the Aldobrandini Room and the picturesque Bramante Cloister, which were embellished by scenic decorations curated by Matteo Corvino and installed with the help of  students and teachers from Rome’s Accademia di Belle Arti. Dinner featured dishes by Michelin-starred chef Giuseppe Di Iorio, fresh from his appointment as Taste Ambassador for the city. 

To mark the occasion we met Massimo Ghenzer, chairman of Anlaids Lazio.

What are the salient points of this year’s edition?

It’s an extremely enjoyable event, but we have to bear in mind, very pragmatically, that the purpose is raise funds to enable us to carry out our work. Sponsors for the evening, for example, included Endemol, a major manufacturing company which helps us to purchase saliva tests; these give a response in a few minutes - 20 at most - as to whether a person is infected or not. And we also have other prestigious partners, as well as more than 350 participants in the event. This all made for a highly successful evening.

What kind of projects are you working on?

A very important one is Progetto Scuole, in which a team of psychologists and doctors explains to teenagers what HIV is and how to prevent it. This is something we’ve been doing for 15 years now, and to date we’ve been in contact with some 150,000 young people. 

And projects for the future?

We’ll be taking part in an international conference on PrEP, the pre-exposure prophylaxis. This is a new direction, in which we’ll seek to explore what kind of contribution we can make, as Anlaids.

This year you also set up an award named after Fernando Aiuti. Can you tell us something about the man who founded Anlaids, who died in January?

In addition to being a world-famous immunologist, to me Fernando was first and foremost a great friend. I knew him for 30 years. He was the man who gave HIV and AIDS patients back their dignity, restoring their identity as simply sick people rather than people to be taken away and isolated. He had an extremely strong, very intense personality, but above all he was a deeply passionate doctor and very close to his patients. He devoted all his life to caring for them. For all these reasons we believed it was our duty to name this award after him; the winner will be announced on 1 December, World AIDS Day.

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