Fifa 'behind HIV-Aids prevention'

PROACTIVE: Mark Heywood of the SA National Aids Council. Pic. Simon Mathebula. 27/03/2009. © Sunday Times.
PROACTIVE: Mark Heywood of the SA National Aids Council. Pic. Simon Mathebula. 27/03/2009. © Sunday Times.

FIFA has denied that it has blocked the distribution of condoms and health-related information at stadiums and fan parks.

FIFA has denied that it has blocked the distribution of condoms and health-related information at stadiums and fan parks.

In a statement Fifa said it was supportive of this initiative and commended the South African government for its commitment to combating HIV and Aids.

The world football governing body said: "Neither Fifa nor the Organising Committee for the Fifa World Cup have blocked activities like HIV counselling and testing.

"Fifa can confirm that it has encouraged the host cities, as main organisers of the Fifa Fan Fests, to install a Fan Service Area where not only basic medicines and condoms can be distributed for free.

"Fifa can also confirm that it will broadcast HIV-prevention messages on the giant screens produced by the NGO Right to Care.

"HIV-Aids prevention will also be one of the key activities of the Football for Hope Festival that will be held in Alexandra, Johannesburg, from July 4 to 10."

On Thursday last week Aids organisations accused Fifa and the Local Organising Committee of blocking the distribution of condoms, HIV prevention and health- related information within Fifa-controlled stadiums and Fan Fests.

Mark Heywood, deputy chairperson of the South African National Aids Council, said: "South Africa faces a huge challenge in preventing HIV..

"Our government is leading our national response by calling for up to 15 million people to test for HIV in the next year.

The World Cup is an opportunity to take forward this campaign and to combine sport with messages about HIV prevention and healthy living that can be heard by millions."

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