Jul 05 2012
Editor's note: As a U.S.-based company, we're using the word "soccer" when you might prefer the word "football." No matter which term you use to describe the sport, we hope you agree Alliance Ukraine is pursuing an admirable goal.
Outside the soccer stadiums in Kyiv and Kharkiv – two Ukrainian cities that just hosted Euro 2012 – you could find plenty of soccer fans. You could also find mobile HIV/AIDS clinics.
You know why the fans were there. Soccer fever gripped much of the world during the 2012 European Soccer championship.
The clinics belong to Alliance Ukraine, serving one of the largest and most populous European countries through community action against HIV. Taking advantage of the Euro 2012 games provided a unique and massive platform to bring HIV/AIDS prevention and anti-stigma messages to a diverse audience.
Alliance Ukraine volunteers
Eastern Europe has the most rapidly expanding HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world. In the Ukraine alone, more than 25,000 new people test positive for HIV/AIDS every year.
Since 2007, the Levi Strauss Foundation has invested in Alliance Ukraine for prevention and advocacy projects, like these mobile clinics. The clinics are equipped with rapid testing booths and information about HIV.
They offer a way for people affected by the epidemic to take on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, separate myths from truths, and promote human rights and dignity.
Tymur is one of the project’s young volunteers. He says: “We approach people to distribute information about HIV and encourage them to know their status. We also provide counseling services free of charge. Everyone is interested and thankful for our help.”
Soccer provides a friendly and laid-back vehicle to talk about HIV/AIDS with people who might be at risk and not even know it. On this blog, we recently told you about Ginan Koesmayadi, who uses soccer in Indonesia to fight AIDS.
It’s a fact: HIV/AIDS affects us all. We are proud to partner with Alliance Ukraine as they drive innovative ways to raise awareness among men, women and youth about the epidemic – a critically important goal.
Posted By: Brandee Butler, Levi Strauss Foundation Program Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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