Charlize Theron's Passions: Her Son, Newly Adopted Daughter, and Fighting HIV/AIDS

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Charlize Theron at times seems like a very complicated woman. She and Sean Penn split up after what seemed like a deep, permanent romance, and then she adopted yet another child as a single mom. At other times Theron is perfectly clear--like when she's raising awareness for the plight of young women and HIV/AIDS in Africa.

On Monday, Charlize Theron talked with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on The Today Show about the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, which she founded in 2007.

"A lot of people assume that we've come a long way with HIV/AIDs—and we have, especially over the last decade. But HIV/AIDS is still the number one killer of women of a reproductive age worldwide. It's something that we still really need to care about because it's really disproportionately hitting young girls and young women," she said. "We've seen a stability or a decrease in a lot of the infection rates across the board, but we are seeing an increase when it comes to youth and adolescents. Somehow we're not reaching those very, very vulnerable girls. That's what our project tries to do with our grassroots organizations on the ground."

Charlize Theron was raised in South Africa. She lives in the U.S. She is working with those "who know the issues that these girls are facing with gender equality, education, or not getting the same level of education because they're basically being treated second- and third-class citizens."

Theron took a few minutes away from this topic to acknowledge that yes, she did adopt a daughter in August. Named August--baby August Theron joins brother Jackson Theron, who she adopted back in 2012.

Charlize Theron explained that her organization is all about prevention of HIV/AIDS.

"There was so much immediate care everywhere in South Africa, and I think all over the world, but we're not going to stop AIDS until we actually teach people how not to become positive. What we've been doing is just curbing it. This is an infectious disease. You can't curb that. So we had to stop it. We have to eliminate it completely," the Mad Max: Fury Road star said. "And the problem is, the Western World, we've come so far. We don't really see AIDS on the front page of the newspaper anymore. The problem is we become complacent and the problem is right now more young girls are dying because of that complacency."

Charlize Theron may be a bit complex. She finished up her segment about her organization while talking of returning home to her three-month-old baby. She ended by saying the conversation she started must continue.

"Sit at dinner tonight and tell whomever you're eating with that girls are eight times more likely to become HIV positive than boys in South Africa," she said.

More information about the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project is available online. The organization has Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.