Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg will be the guest of honour at Vienna's glitzy AIDS charity Life Ball on July 17, organiser Gery Keszler announced Wednesday.

The fashion-show-cum-party-event celebrates this year its 18th anniversary and has the honour of opening the World AIDS conference which will be held in the Austrian capital from July 18-23.

"I've admired (Goldberg) for years for her openness, her coolness and her humour," Keszler told journalists Wednesday.

The US comedian follows a glamourous list of stars who have graced the red-ribbon catwalk at Vienna's gothic city hall in recent years, from actresses Sharon Stone and Eva Longoria-Parker to model Linda Evangelista and singers Elton John and Anastacia.

Former US president Bill Clinton, whose foundation promotes AIDS work, will also take part in the charity event, Keszler said.

Last year, the Life Ball raised close to 1.5 million euros (two million dollars), which are each year distributed to various projects to combat the disease and help its victims.

The 18th World AIDS conference in Vienna will bring together some 25,000 experts, health professionals and policy makers to discuss progress in fighting AIDS and look at ways to provide further prevention and treatment against the HIV virus which causes it.