Feature story

Be smart – protect yourself

14 February 2007



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Photo credit: Al jazeera

Michael Ballack is known and admired across the world for his footballing skills but now Michael is going for a new goal and reaching out to young people around the globe by speaking about HIV prevention in a new UNAIDS public service announcement (PSA).

The PSA, generously produced by Al Jazeera, was filmed at Chelsea Football Club’s famous football ground Stamford Bridge, where Michael has been playing since his move from Bayern Munich in 2006.

Michael is helping people to make the smart choices and to help prevent the spread of HIV by appearing in the 30 second clip for UNAIDS. His message plays on sporting metaphors: ‘On the pitch you can play hard and take risks to score. But with HIV you are playing with your life––Be smart––protect yourself.’

"A lot of people know footballers, they look up to us, and I think we should all fight AIDS together,” said Michael Ballack while shooting the short film.

During the video, Ballack delivers key HIV prevention messages while demonstrating the footballing skills he is so famous for on the pitch. AIDS statistics are displayed on the stadium's big screen: ‘During the course of a 90 minute football match more than 500 people will have died of AIDS, 180 under 25 years old.’ After reading the statistics, Michael switches from player to referee: blowing his whistle, shaking his head and rather than holding out a red card he holds up a red condom. This epidemic must stop and there is one very simple way – HIV prevention!

Michael Ballack accepted his appointment as UNAIDS Special Representative in May 2006, pledging to raise awareness around HIV in the sporting arena. He said, “AIDS is everyone’s business. Sport and especially football can help break social barriers and fight the stigma around HIV.…I want today’s youth to know the facts about AIDS.”



Do you want to win a Ballack signed UNAIDS sweatshirt ?

Answer this question: “How many people were newly infected with HIV in 2006?”

Find the answer and more about HIV and AIDS on http://www.unaids.org/

Send your answer to competition@unaids.org with your name and postal address by March 31st 2007

The winners will be picked in a draw on April 2nd 2007. The winners will be notified directly by UNAIDS and the prizes will be shipped by mail.

 



Links:

Read statements from participants
Watch Michael Ballack's Public Service Announcement (PSA) (Video will open in a new window)
Read note to broadcasters
Go to Michael Ballack's UNAIDS Special Representative page

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