The awards, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and held this year at the National Art Gallery, celebrate organisations and individuals who have demonstrated commitment and courage in breaking the silence around the infection, reducing stigma and discrimination, and caring for infected and affected people.
The awards are named after Auxillia Chimusoro, one of the first people in Zimbabwe to openly disclose their HIV positive status. At the time, in 1987, the disease was shrouded in silence.
“I am honoured to be invited to speak at the Auxillia Chimusoro Awards ceremony, honouring Auxillia’s legacy and recognising those making such direct progress against this devastating disease. USAID’s ongoing support has made such success possible and I’m grateful to them for their commitment, generosity, and partnership,” says Messing of her participation in the 9th annual awards ceremony.
“We are excited to have Debra Messing speak to Zimbabwean HIV and AIDS activists during the Auxillia Chimusoro Awards,” says Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Harare. “The fight against Aids is a central piece of the foreign policy and global health agenda outlined by the United States. Artists can play an important role in both spreading the message and fundraising, which makes Messing’s experience with PSI a positive model for all Zimbabweans.”
Internationally, Messing is best known for her role on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series Will & Grace. She captivated television audiences worldwide for eight seasons with her comedic brilliance as Grace Adler. For her work on the popular sitcom, Messing won the 2003 Emmy Award and has earned numerous accolades, including several Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. In 2001, Messing collected the TV Guide’s Actress of the Year in a Comedy Series honour and was awarded a Screen Actors Guild award with the cast of Will & Grace.
Messing’s recent film work includes several romantic comedies, including The Wedding Date, box office hit Along Came Polly, with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, and The Women, alongside Annette Benning and Meg Ryan.
While in Zimbabwe, Messing will take the opportunity to visit a variety of HIV prevention and treatment programs and will meet with local officials and researchers. –– Own Correspondent.