Towards an amazing and healthy World Cup

Towards an amazing and healthy World Cup

by / Comments Off / 27 View / 6th June 2010

With the World cup bringing foreign football supporters expectantly in a party mood, some are concerned over the risk of an increase in HIV infections. The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has been preparing for this moment since ‘09, when NGOs, health officials and activists agreed on using the World Cup to promote an intense HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.

It appears the expected funding for the campaign has not materialised and, according to SANAC deputy chairperson Mark Heywood, neither has leadership on the issue from FIFA or the South African government. Civil society is therefore left in charge of the HIV/AIDS campaign, trying to get permission to run activities in stadiums and fun parks.

There is problem here too; according to IRIN news, FIFA and the local organising committee (LOC) have denied access to the sites where the NGOs were meant to distribute condoms and HIV/AIDS prevention information.

FIFA’s priority, some have argued, is clearly not the success of the HIV campaign but soccer and the management of it.

However, FIFA has agreed to the installation of condom dispensers in toilets at the stadiums, but it is unclear whether there will be enough condoms available to supply the whole country over the World Cup period.

100 million condoms is the approximate figure needed during the event. The UN population fund and the British government have donated respectively 3.5 million and 42 million condoms. One million have been given to the South African business coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA), but more than 50 million still have to be distributed and it is important that civil society is financially assisted and given the adequate access in order to achieve their target. We should strive for not just an amazing World Cup, but also a safe one, health wise.