The Gym Class Heroes lead singer is not just another dime a dozen pierced and tatted up musician. He also works hard to spread awareness on HIV and AIDS.

Upon returning from touring with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation (a youth focused, HIV and AIDS prevention campaign), Travis took some time off from his busy schedule to reply my email regarding his charity work.

”It was crazy,” he described the tour. ”Twelve countries, 10 flights and ZERO time to rest. But when you’re part of such an amazing and important journey, the time to sleep has to come last.”

The journey has definitely changed him.

”I came back with a whole new perspective about a lot of things. I was out of my comfort zone to say the least, but sometimes you need to do that in order to grow as a person,” he said.

Fans got a glimpse of his experience through the MTV’s documentary Travis McCoy’s Unbeaten Track which premiered on MTV Asia (Astro Channel 713) in conjunction with World AIDS Day yesterday.

Travis became involved in the Staying Alive Foundation after helping them to conduct interviews at last year’s MTV Europe Music Awards in England. He asked celebrities questions on issues like safe sex, relationships and condoms.

”It was a lot of fun, but afterwards, I felt that there was a lot more that I could do. So, I talked to Georgia Arnold, who heads the Staying Alive Foundation. We ended up planning a trip to visit some of the Staying Alive Foundation grantees so that I could experience the incredible HIV prevention work they do first hand, and help tell their stories.”

There is a reason why Travis chose this foundation when he could have devoted his time and energy to other organisations.

”When I was younger, I had someone very close to me die from AIDS. I didn’t really know anything about the disease at that age and I was scared. I thought that by eating off the same plate that he had eaten from, I could catch HIV too,” he shared.

”There is always misinformation tied to HIV and AIDS and a lack of knowledge promotes fear. I was a prime example of this. I want to help educate my fans and young people in general, and encourage them to think twice before they have sex and to make sure it’s safe.”

Travis travelled to India, Philippines and South Africa on this tour. While he did see so much sadness on the trip, he also saw much hope and bravery as well.

”I’ve seen how individuals have the power to make a difference. I hope that by being Staying Alive’s ambassador, I can create some noise and make sure these people’s voices do get heard. We need to stop playing like this disease doesn’t exist. It does, and it is both treatable and preventable,” he said.

The quirky singer even wrote a track, One At A Time – exclusively for the Staying Alive Foundation — and 100% of the sales’ profit off iTunes will benefit the foundation.

At the end of the day, Travis hopes that his song and documentary trip would help to open people’s eyes to the epidemic of HIV and AIDS.

”Hopefully, any young person who watches the documentary will have an increased awareness of HIV and AIDS and the issues surrounding it.”

Watch Travis McCoy’s Unbeaten Track on MTV Asia (Astro Channel 713). You can also visit Travis’ blog at or learn more about the MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation at

Click here for full transcript of Travis McCoy’s e-mail interview.

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