Sharon Stone has reflected on the backlash she received when she went from actress to activist in her quest to fight for HIV/AIDS research.
The Hollywood star said she was warned against standing in as chairwoman for the AIDS charity amfAR in 1995, which was then held by actress Elizabeth Taylor.
“I had pretty big shoes to fill with Elizabeth Talyor at amfAR,” Stone recalled on a panel at Saudia Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival over the weekend, adding that her publicist at the time told her: “If you do this, it will destroy your career.”
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According to Stone, her acting career took a blow when she stayed on with the foundation for a further three years but was naive to “the resistance, cruelty, hate and oppression that we would face” as at the time talking about AIDS was taboo.
But Stone says she is glad she continued to support the foundation as now 40 million people were no longer dying from the disease, thanks to antiretroviral medicines, research and education – factors she and the amfAR team fought for.
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“I stayed for 25 years until we had AIDS remedies being advertised on TV like we have aspirin,” Stone said. “It did destroy my career. I didn’t work for eight years. I was told if I said condom again, funding would be removed. I was threatened repeatedly, my life was threatened, and I decided I had to stick with it.”
“Now 37 million are living with HIV AIDS, living functioning and healthy,” she added.
Using her platform, Stone has made a positive impact with amfAR and in one previous charity event in 2014, the actress helped the organisation raise $US35 million ($51 million) in one night.
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