Football World Cup for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people gives AIDS the Red Card

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Football World Cup for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people gives AIDS the Red Card

19 June 2012

Team captains participating in the Mexican World Cup signing the pledge to support the UNAIDS campaign “Give AIDS the Red Card”. Credit: UNAIDS

The game of football has once again scored a goal against HIV at the 2012 International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) World Championship Cup, held in Mexico from 1st to 9th June 2012.

At the tournament, footballers from 8 teams representing the Americas, Europe and Oceania joined the UNAIDS’ campaign “Give AIDS the Red Card” to promote HIV prevention and take a stand against stigma and discrimination.

“We are proud to stand together with UNAIDS and its partners to give AIDS the red card,” said Andoni Bello Lanestosa, captain of the Mexican team. “We can make change happen. We can help reduce HIV transmission by 50% and end violence and discrimination,” he added.

The Latin America region shows an unfortunate record in terms of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGTB) people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGTB people face a serious problem of stigma and discrimination that limit their access to health services, education and judicial systems and job opportunities and increases their vulnerability to HIV.

“Experience shows that when people are stigmatized for their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are less likely to access health services and information on HIV prevention,” stressed César A. Núñez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America. “Studies in Latin America show HIV prevalence rates around 10% among men who have sex with men. Among transgender population, HIV prevalence is even higher, between 20 and 28%,” he added.

Football players who join the campaign can inspire people to learn the facts about AIDS, to protect themselves and to fight stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and LGBT persons

Rubén Mayorga, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile

Two years ago at the FIFA 2010 World Cup held in South Africa, UNAIDS launched the “Give AIDS the Red Card” campaign using the power and outreach of football to unite the world around stopping new HIV infections in children. In this occasion, the campaign, which is based on “Give AIDS the Red Card”, uses the tournament to raise awareness on the HIV prevention needs of the LGTB community.

All team captains participating in the Mexican World Cup signed the pledge to support the UNAIDS campaign. By signing the pledge, the delegations agree to spread the message of the campaign upon return to their respective countries. Along with the team captains, representatives of the International Association of Gay Referees and IGLFA Latin America also endorsed the initiative and signed the pledge.

Football players from the Argentinean and Mexican teams collaborated with the campaign from the beginning. They appeared on posters and advertisement billboards used before and during the ILGFA World Cup. “Sports stars can play an important role in the AIDS response by talking openly about HIV,” said Rubén Mayorga, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. “Football players who join the campaign can inspire people to learn the facts about AIDS, to protect themselves and to fight stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and LGBT persons.”

The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) was founded in 1992 and after 20 years, over 80 teams from more than 20 countries from all over the world have become part of this organization.