Sport and HIV prevention
09 October 2007
Chinese toolkit for HIV prevention launched in Beijing
With the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games less than a year away, sporting fever is gripping China and the surrounding countries. And as athletes prepare to run, jump, kick and throw themselves onto the winners podium, HIV prevention is also emerging as an Olympic champion.
Sport and its impact, role and opportunity for HIV prevention is becoming a central theme to activities across China. In September a special workshop on HIV prevention through took place in Beijing, gathering fifty representatives from ten Asian countries to discuss how sporting organizations can become involved in HIV prevention and work to dispel stigma.
Organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee, UNAIDS, the Health Bureau of Beijing, the Chinese Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, this was the second workshop of its kind and also saw the launch of the Chinese version of the first Toolkit for HIV prevention for the sports community.
Jointly developed by the IOC and UNAIDS, this practical guide was put together to reach millions of people involved in sports in China and the region to help them engage in AIDS-related activities and programmes. The English version, launched in 2005, has already been widely distributed and used by the English speaking sporting community.
“Millions of sports fans take part or watch sport every week in this region. Sport stimulates passion and has the capacity to unite whole nations. It is also a powerful force for change and information sharing on issues such as HIV,” said Andy Seale, Chief of Civil Society Partnerships at UNAIDS who attended the workshop and launch on behalf of UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr Peter Piot.
“The energy and excitement building globally around next year’s Olympic Games here in Beijing is palpable. It is fitting that we channel some of that energy into [HIV prevention],” he added.
“The energy and excitement building globally around next year’s Olympic Games here in Beijing is palpable; if we can direct the same energy towards HIV prevention this is a prime opportunity to move forward and reach out to people from all sectors,” added.
Delegates at the event reiterated the need to capitalize on the Beijing Games and other sporting events as opportunities for HIV prevention work and information campaigns. The participants also agreed to distribute and make use of the toolkit in educating athletes, coaches, officials and administrators, and adapt it to the local context, reach out to famous athletes as ambassadors and supporters for their activities and involve people living with HIV in their work.
At the end of the workshop, delegates called on the main stakeholders from the sport and health sectors to set up a task force building on existing partnerships. They also called for further action on developing an AIDS policy for each relevant organization, while ensuring that the progress and results were monitored and disseminated.
A message from IOC President Jacques Rogge underlined how sport can break down barriers, fight discrimination and make a difference in the AIDS response.
“Because the prevention of and fight against discrimination are the two fields in which sport can clearly make a difference, and because sport breaks down barriers, builds self-esteem and can teach life skills and healthy behaviour, the sports movement has decided to join the world campaign against AIDS," said Mr Rogge.
“More than ever, sport can be a catalyst in our society to improve quality of life and human well-being,” he added.
See the English version of the toolkit:
‘Together for HIV and AIDS Prevention – a toolkit for the sports community’
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‘China’s Olympic effort to raise AIDS awareness
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