Sports And HIV/Aids - Potential Impact On Children

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by Michael Addo, Ghananian Chronicle, 18 Oct 2006

OUT OF the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world today, 2.5 million people infected are children under the age of 15.

And most of these live in developing countries where access to anti-retroviral medication, which has been prolonging the lives of people with HIV/AIDS in the developing world, is not accessible.

Similar to malaria, HIV is preventable provided that people are empowered with the knowledge and skills about the true nature of the infection and the effective means for its prevention.

According to Right to Play, an NGO that seeks to promote sports in children, young girls, children and women are vulnerable to HIV due to economic and political instability, use of rape as weapon in wars, displacement of large groups of people, myths, violation of women and children's rights, and often the low societal position of these people.

It is surprising that the majority of people with HIV in the world today are female, and more than half of those newly infected are young people between the ages of 15 and 24, noted the NGO.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Toshiyuki Niwa, has emphasized the importance of sports and awareness in combating the HIV pandemic in young people.

He said due to the immense popularity of sports, "sport-related organizations and leagues are uniquely poised to spread critical knowledge and prevention messages to increase young people's access to services to teach life skills, to bring communities together, and particularly to address young people in a language they understand".

He shared UNICEF's approach to young development and HIV/AIDS, which is based on "ensuring that young people have the knowledge, the skills, the services and a supportive environment to protect them from HIV/AIDS and develop to their full potential."

Mr. Niwa cited that in Rwanda, UNICEF was working closely with Right to Play and some other organizations to facilitate integration of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children into their local communities through participation in sport activities.

"In recognition of the power and potential of sports as a fundamental element in the healthy and holistic development of children and youth, UNICEF is incorporating the power and potential of sports, recreation and play into our country programmes in partnership with government, civil society and NGOs," he said.

According to the Deputy Executive Director, "Our goal is to leverage the enormous potential of sport to assist in the achievement of objectives in child health, education, protection, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention."

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This page contains a single entry by ID Admin published on October 19, 2006 12:59 PM.

Malaysian women sues over false HIV diagnosis was the previous entry in this blog.

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