UN moves to check new HIV infections among youth

New York- US (PANA) -- The UN is partnering with the organizers of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games to raise awareness about HIV among young people, who accoun t for 40 per cent of all new infections, as well as fight the stigma associated w i th the virus.
The games, which kicked off Saturday in Singapore, will be held every two years, alternating between summer and winter for young athletes from around the world a ged between 14 and 18 years.
"Young athletes are role models in their communities,â? Michel Sidibe, Executiv e Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said in a statement o n the partnership, made available to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) in New Yo r k on Wednesday.
Sidibe also stated: "We need to call on these young people to lead the preventio n revolution if we are to reach UNAIDSâ? vision of zero new infections.
" He noted that the joint efforts by UNAIDS and the organizers of the Singapore Ga mes were part of the agencyâ?s overall partnership with the International Olympi c Committee (IOC) to check the menace of HIV/AIDS.
According to him, it was aimed at providing HIV prevention information and raise awareness about HIV among young people during the two weeks of the competition.
Commenting on the partnership, the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, said: "H IV awareness and prevention campaigns are most effective when addressed to the y o uth.
"Sports is a powerful tool for reaching out to todayâ?s youth on all continents and for educating them early on about healthy and responsible behaviours.
" UNAIDS also disclosed that, "together with civil society organizations, we will conduct a series of workshops focusing on adolescent sexual and reproductive hea l th as well as stigma surrounding HIV.
" In a toolkit prepared for the sports community, UNAIDS noted that, "prevention a nd fighting against discrimination are two fields in which sports can clearly ma k e a difference.
"The sports community is a key partner in reaching out to young men and women in their villages or cities.
" It also added that, "sports events, clubs and gyms offer a perfect platform to m ake young people aware of the issue, to promote preventive messages, and to ensu r e that persons living with HIV are not discriminated against.
" The statement further said the workshops would be open to the estimated 3,600 yo ung athletes and 1,400 officials in the Olympic Village.
"In addition, condoms have been made available for free at the medical clinics," it concluded.

18 august 2010 17:09:00

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