AIDS Activists Use World Cup to Spread Their Message
April 9, 2010
The World Cup comes to South Africa in June, and campaigners are hoping to use the world's most popular sporting event as a platform for boosting awareness of HIV/AIDS and other health crises on the continent. When the last match ends on July 11, fans will have had multiple opportunities to get tested for HIV at mobile clinics, obtain free condoms, and hear soccer players talk about safe sex.
UNICEF is among the UN agencies that will have a strong presence during the tournament. The UN plans to debut a song featuring African stars that will touch on a range of issues, including AIDS, hunger and poverty, said Kiyo Akasaka, communications chief for the agency. "The World Cup is a great opportunity. The people of the world will look at the people of Africa, of South Africa, through the global media," said Akasaka. "Whatever message is coming out of South Africa will be distributed so widely."
Soccer star and UNICEF goodwill ambassador David Beckham recently met with HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers at a Cape Town clinic, where a counselor told him more men need to support their partners to get treatment and care. "I hope that I can do my bit to promote this message and that men out there hear this and do their bit," said Beckham.
Nike has teamed up with U2 lead singer Bono to produce red shoe laces for the star's (RED) project for AIDS awareness. "I think you'll see those laces on the pitch," said Charlie Denson, president of Nike.
FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, is opening Football for Hope centers where opportunities for play will be mixed with messages advocating social development and HIV prevention.
04.01.2010; Donna Bryson
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.