The IOC and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) are seizing the opportunity of the Athens Games to raise awareness among the sporting community of HIV/AIDS. This effort falls within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two organisations last May.
An information leaflet was distributed to all athletes competing at the Athens Games encouraging them to adopt a responsible attitude towards HIV/AIDS and contribute with all the means at their disposal to preventing its spread.
The document reminds Olympians that they are role models, and that, through their personal behaviour, they can be ambassadors for the cause.
Athletes’ Commission contribution
IOC Athletes’ Commission members Yaping Deng of China and Matthew Pinsent of Great Britain both contributed to the effort by addressing the athletes in Athens.
“HIV can affect anyone, anywhere. As athletes, we are in a unique position to help get messages through on how to avoid infection with the virus. While there may be no cure for AIDS, we must not forget that HIV can be prevented,” said Yaping Deng.
Matthew Pinsent said: “Using condoms for sex is the safest way to protect ourselves from a range of sexually-transmitted diseases – including HIV. If you’re going to do it – play it safe and use a condom.”
40 million people infected
The AIDS epidemic is still spreading fast throughout the whole world. More than 40 million people are infected with HIV. Nearly 90% of all the infected people worldwide do not know they have the virus, though they can transmit it to others.
Learn more about UNAIDS