International Olympic Committee, UNAIDS Agree To Work Together To Increase AIDS Awareness Among Sport Community
The International Olympic Committee and UNAIDS on Tuesday agreed to combine their efforts to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, especially among the sports community, according to a joint release. The organizations signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to exchange information about the most effective ways sports organizations can help to fight AIDS at the local and national levels. The groups also agreed to organize AIDS awareness activities with coaches, athletes and sports personalities. IOC as a first step will produce and distribute HIV/AIDS awareness cards for the 11,000 athletes taking part in the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece, this summer. In addition, UNAIDS, IOC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on June 17-18 plan to hold an Olympic Sport and HIV/AIDS workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. HIV/AIDS experts and National Olympic Committees from 12 countries are expected to attend to discuss efforts to use sports to educate the public -- especially young people -- about HIV/AIDS. "Sport breaks down barriers, promotes self-esteem and can teach life skills and healthy behavior. Athletes can be an inspiration and role models for the youth of the world," IOC President Jacques Rogge said at the memorandum signing, adding, "This signature will allow the IOC and UNAIDS to build coordinated efforts in order to help combat HIV/AIDS." UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said that it is "vitally important" for HIV-positive people under age 25 -- many of whom participate in or watch sports -- "to have access to information about HIV so that they can stay HIV-negative and lead healthy and productive lives. The sports community is a key partner in reaching out to young men and women, whether in their village or town, or globally" (UNAIDS/IOC release, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.