Success for the 2nd Asian workshop on HIV & AIDS prevention through sport
Over 40 million people around the world are living with HIV, and many of them are involved in sport, either as spectators or as participants. As sport is an integral part of society, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Movement as a whole have decided to contribute fully to the global effort to stop the spread of infection and to start reversing the trend by 2015, as envisaged by the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.
In this framework, the IOC, in cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), UNAIDS, the Health Bureau of Beijing, the Chinese Red Cross (RCSC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), organised the 2nd Asian Workshop on HIV & AIDS prevention through sport, held in Beijing (People’s Republic of China) from 19 to 21 September 2007. Opened by the Deputy Director of State General Administration of Sport, and COC Vice President, Cai Zhenghua, this seminar brought together around 50 delegates representing 10 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from Asia.
Launch of the AIDS prevention toolkit in Chinese
Being held in the host city of the forthcoming Olympic Games, this seminar was also the perfect location to launch the Chinese version of the first Toolkit for HIV & AIDS prevention for the sports community. Jointly developed by the IOC and UNAIDS, this practical guide will thus reach millions of sports people in China and the region, and will help them engage in activities and programmes to combat this disease.
Fight against HIV: sport can make a difference
As IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his message, “more than ever, sport can be a catalyst in our society to improve quality of life and human well-being. 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 the HIV & AIDS epidemic.” He also emphasised the important role of the NOCs’ representatives, who through their presence showed the interest and the commitment of the sports community and the Olympic family to this fight, as those reaching out to the people.
After three days of fruitful discussions, the Seminar concluded with a list of final concrete recommendations calling on the main stakeholders from the sport and health sectors to set up a task force building on existing partnerships. The document also encourages further action on developing an HIV and AIDS policy for each relevant organisation, while ensuring that the progress and results are monitored and disseminated. Furthermore, the delegates unanimously emphasised the necessity to:
- capitalise on the Beijing Games as a unique opportunity for HIV prevention work;
- capitalise on the existing sports events calendar and other celebrations for information campaigns;
- 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;
- involve people living with HIV in their work.
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