Tom Hanks, Nelson Mandela, Will Smith and many other high-profile people have all come together for a new campaign by Kenneth Cole – known for edgy fashion and edgier ad campaigns – to raise awareness for World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, PEOPLE reports in its upcoming issue.
“Ninety-five percent of the people living with the virus (worldwide) don t know they have it,” Cole, a longtime activist and current chairman of amfAR, an AIDS research and awareness organization, tells PEOPLE. “If we could just get 5 percent to address their status, we could double the amount of people we’re treating and lives we’re saving.”
To combat the stigma that still surrounds the disease almost a quarter century after the first reported cases, Cole, 51, and fashion photographer Mark Seliger gathered prominent doctors, activists and celebs known for their dedication to the cause and photographed them at multiple shoots. The images were then combined to create an eye-catching ad with a potent message.
“This campaign is about unity,” says Sharon Stone, who autographed an impression of footprints that, along with those of other stars, will be on display in New York City on Dec. 1.
Cole – who will be selling limited-edition AIDS awareness T-shirts that boldly read “We All Have AIDS” – says: “If anyone has AIDS, we all have it. People (need to) realize AIDS is not someone else’s problem.”