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Athletes Join HIV Prevention/Anti-Violence Campaign in South Africa

Athletes Join HIV Prevention/Anti-Violence Campaign in South Africa

Editor’s Note: Here’s another great post from our friends over at SOS Children’s Villages. This one tells us about Brothers for Life, a campaign just launched in South Africa to coincide with this year’s FIFA World Cup. (And in case you live in a cave — or are just not a sports geek, like myself — and don’t know, this year’s World Cup is being held in South Africa.) Athletes have joined the campaign to help raise awareness about HIV prevention and discourage violence towards women.


By Kyna Rubin 

Top sports players from South Africa and elsewhere are joining forces to prevent HIV and violence against South African women and children. The campaign, called Brothers for Life, has kicked off just in time for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, taking place in South Africa this year. 

Thousands of soccer fans from around the world are expected to flock into the country. In light of the drinking and sex that is likely to occur, “we want to encourage people to be safe,” Dean Peacock, co-director of Sonke Gender Justice, told the IRIN news service

The group is one of 40 civil society organizations sponsoring the campaign together with the South African National AIDS Council, South Africa’s Department of Health, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 

The effort targets men, who are considered a neglected demographic in the nation’s struggle to prevent HIV/AIDS. The HIV infection rate among South African men, age 25 to 49, is more than double that of the national average — 24 percent versus 11 percent, according to a 2009 survey by South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council. 

Getting a Positive Message to Men in Their Prime

Among the sports ambassadors for the Brothers for Life campaign are South African soccer players Matthew Booth and Teko Modise, rugby captain John Smit, and cricket captain Graeme Smith. Soccer stars Ryan Giggs of Manchester United and Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona have also signed on to help.

The sports stars will deliver messages on television and radio about the risks of drinking and having unprotected sex. They will also support a nationwide drive to counsel and test for HIV, an initiative launched in April by South Africa President Jacob Zuma. 

Doing the Right Thing for Children and Families

The motto of the Brothers for Life effort is for men to “Do the right thing” — not only during the World Cup, but for years to come. 

Another group working to do the right thing for children and families in South Africa is SOS Children’s Villages. SOS raises children who have lost parental care due to AIDS, poverty or other causes. In South Africa since 1982, SOS runs eight Children’s Villages and provides HIV-prevention counseling to vulnerable families. Former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are longtime advocates of SOS-South Africa.

Learn more about SOS Children’s Villages.


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photo credit: thanks to tpower1978 for the amazing shot of messi

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7:48PM PDT on Oct 11, 2010

Its good to hear about athletes creating awareness and getting involved. Thanks for sharing :)

11:03PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

I'm glad that some athletes are getting involved in this - HIV is a very serious and horrible illness, and it is spreading like wildfire in developing countries - it needs to be curbed as quickly as possible, and the only ways to do that is through rigorous testing and safe-sex education. In fact, I think with this disease, everyone should have mandatory testing.

4:18PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

SOS Children's Villages is a great charity. They do so much for children in so many countries.

6:04AM PDT on Jun 21, 2010


10:27AM PDT on Jun 12, 2010

Too bad that athletes and everyone who is into conventional "sickness business" don't know that HIV=AIDS is a fraud. Mbeki knows it but he, as president, was constrained to take well needed funds from Big Pharma investment and "well meaning" foundations.

10:24AM PDT on Jun 12, 2010

Too bad that athletes and everyone who is into conventional "sickness business" don't know that HIV=AIDS is a fraud. Mbeki knows it but he, as president, was constrained to take well needed funds from Big Pharma investment and "well meaning" foundations.

6:22AM PDT on Jun 12, 2010

Please allow me to make a commit. First South Africa and Mexico did well at the start of the WORLD CUP. As for HIV/AIDS, THE un HAS ALREADY ADDRESSED THIS AND CRIME AT A PRESS MEETING.

12:29AM PDT on Jun 12, 2010

Good move. Thanks for sharing.

11:30AM PDT on Jun 11, 2010


8:36AM PDT on Jun 11, 2010

Thanks for this article.

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