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Did you know that every 15 seconds, someone 15 to 24 years old becomes infected with HIV? Avril Lavigne knows. Charlize Theron knows. So do Ludacris, Rosario Dawson, Ziggy Marley, Brittany Murphy, John Mayer and the 14 other celebrities who donated their time and influence to the second wave of Aldo Fights AIDS.

Just launched in 22 global markets, this edgy public-awareness campaign is the result of a firm handshake between the Montreal-based footwear and accessories institution, which conceived the campaign, and YouthAIDS, an organization dedicated to empowering and educating the world's young people about HIV/AIDS prevention.

Founded in 1972 as a shoe franchise that rented space in Le Chateau stores in Montreal, Aldo has been fighting AIDS since 1985, when the issue was still taboo. Since then, the corporation has donated millions to such organizations as AIDS Walk foundations, CanfAR in Canada and AmfAR in the United States, and Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.

"We became involved with the fight against AIDS because it was something that people were afraid to talk about and we felt we had a responsibility to our customers and associates," company founder Aldo Bensadoun says.

Today, employees are encouraged to get involved and give back to their communities. These values date back to Aldo's early years. "When I started the company, I had certain ideals," Bensadoun says. "I felt the principles of social equality could be applied successfully to a profitable company."

Aldo's first stand-alone store had a St. Catherine Street address. Today, the company runs 450 shops in North America and 166 worldwide.

Inspired by the credo "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil," this current Aldo initiative seeks to break the silence about HIV and AIDS, raising funds through the sale of "empowerment tags."

Dangling from faded leather straps, these stylish dog tag necklaces -- $5 each -- are engraved on one side with the word, "hear," "see," or "speak," with the AIDS ribbon on the other. They're available at Aldo shops and at (which gets 20,000 hits a day). All net proceeds go to YouthAIDS.

Last year's toils raised more than $1-million, and after the first two weeks of this year's efforts, 60,000 tags had been sold.

The campaign's jaw-drop factor is its visual interpretation of the catchphrase: a series of provocative black and white portraits snapped by legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh. Biting a tag strap, Eva Mendes scowls at the camera. Hand covering his mouth, Adrien Brody is all puppy-dog eyes. Good Charlotte brothers Benji and Joel Madden scrunch their eyes in prayer. You get the picture.

"We tried to create a mosaic representative of a global community; people who could really speak to this young generation," says Robert Hoppenheim, general manager of branding and strategic development for the company, speaking of the 15-to-24-year-olds worldwide who are targeted by this campaign.

With these goals in mind, Hoppenheim recruited a culturally diverse bundle of celebs. With two shooting days scheduled -- one in New York, one in Los Angeles -- chaos was inevitable. But instead of arriving at their assigned appointment slots, virtually all L.A. subjects showed up at the same time.

"There was an amazing vibe on set," the exec recalls. "People were hanging out longer than they had to, getting to know each other. I got the sense that it was meaningful for the participants, and if we're able to affect people so exposed, we must be breaking through."