Federer in public service announcement for an ‘AIDS-free generation’
Roger Federer, the ATP’s world number one tennis player and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, will star in a World AIDS Day public service announcement to raise awareness about the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children.
The 30-second video message – available in German, English and French versions – will be released to broadcasters worldwide to mark this year’s World Aids Day, on 1 December 2007. In a first for UNICEF, the campaign will also be released in high-definition.
Mr. Federer was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador last year and joins many other celebrities and sports personalities in lending their voices to the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign, launched in October 2005 by UNICEF and UNAIDS to draw attention to the impact of the disease on children and young people.
Other UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors who have recorded messages include David Beckham, Amitabh Bachchan, Susan Sarandon, Roger Moore, Shakira and basketball stars from the NBA and more than 40 international cricketers.
Children infected with HIV or orphaned by AIDS often face enormous stigma and discrimination. Being able to talk about the virus in the first place is key to creating an AIDS-free generation.
“I’ve seen kids in South Africa who’ve been affected and it’s a very big problem, especially in the poorer countries,” said Mr. Federer. “It’s important to break down discrimination and stigma. Many people always think ‘I can’t talk to this person’, but I think it’s very important to speak openly about it.”
Mr. Federer continued “I think if people can help the process trying to make HIV a thing of the past, I’m willing to help, too. It’s a hard subject to talk about. People sometimes try to avoid it, that’s not the way to go”
The role of sport in educating young people about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and empowering them with the life skills necessary to protect themselves and their families from the disease has become an important part of the Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS campaign.
“Children and young people continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS,” says Federer. ”Sport creates leadership opportunities and teaches children teamwork, encouraging them to make good choices that can reduce their risk of HIV infection. Sport also helps prepare young people to meet challenges and encourage them to take leadership roles in their communities. Sport is a fun way to learn lessons that will last a life time"
As part of the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign, UNICEF works with international sports organizations including the Association of Tennis Professionals, FIFA and the International Cricket Council to promote the positive values that sports can teach. The public service announcement contributes to the ACE (‘Assisting Children Everywhere’) partnership, a joint effort of the ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, and UNICEF to harness the power of tennis for children.
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