On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Hairdressers Against AIDS celebrated the beginning of its second year in the United States at the Hair on Madison salon in Harlem. What a nice turnout there was for this global advocacy program, whose goal is to empower the entire industry of hairdressers and salon professionals to use their unique relationship with their clients and communities to become a resource to interact, educate and help prevent the spread of AIDS/HIV.

In its second year, Hairdressers Against AIDS will deploy teams of professional stylists and colorists trained in current HIV/AIDS information to beauty schools across the country, taking their HIV/AIDS awareness message to the next generation of hairdressers. The organization will continue to provide education through informational tool kits in the salons in America.

They also encourage the salon community and consumers to join the conversation and arm themselves with prevention information, which can be found at www.hairdressersagainstaids.com.

“Millions of people sit in salon chairs every day, speaking with their hairdressers about their lives. This is why Hairdressers Against AIDS was created: to communicate important messages through the special bond between these artists and their clients,” explained Christine Schuster, U.S. chair of Hairdressers Against AIDS. “Hairdressers have a unique opportunity to help save lives simply by starting a conversation. This year, by engaging students, we hope to inspire future generations of hairdressers to continue this conversation.”

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn returned this year to again show her support. She was joined by City Council Member Inez Dickens and Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, Leatrice Wactor of the National Black Leadership Initiative on AIDS and AIDS activist Maria Davis.

Schuster, who is also senior vice president of worldwide education at Redken and Pureology, hosted the event along with celebrity hair professionals Kimmi Hendrix and Traci Washington. Veronique Morrison, director of Mizani, was also on board.

“It is imperative that we keep the conversation about HIV/AIDS awareness going in this country,” said Quinn. “The more we talk, the more infections we can prevent and the less the stigma persists for those who are living with HIV/AIDS. New generations should be aware and have access to the latest prevention information and not be afraid to speak openly about the disease, be it with their friends, family or hairdressers.”