Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Youth Olympics bring opportunity for AIDS awareness

The first-ever Youth Olympic Games began in Singapore on Saturday August 14, 2010. The UN is capitalizing on this international event, by partnering with the organizers in order to bring awareness about HIV/AIDS to young people. UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will provide educational information about HIV over the two weeks of competition. Workshops on topics such as adolescent sexual health, reproductive health, and the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS will be offered to the 3,600 athletes and 1,400 officials in attendance.

Many people have recognized the potential impact that these young and talented athletes can have in their own communities as role models and leaders. "We need to call on these young people to lead the prevention revolution if we are to reach UNAIDS' vision of zero new infections," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge agreed by saying, "HIV awareness and prevention campaigns are most effective when addressed to the youth. Sport is a powerful tool for reaching out to today's youth on all continents and for educating them early on about healthy and responsible behaviors."

-Devynn Patterson