1st Event of the Olympics 2012
1st New HIV Awareness videos by Women’s Footballers
(Great Britain’s women’s football team will play New Zealand in the opening event of the Olympic Games at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday the 25th July).
Six leading members of Team GB’s women’s Olympic football team are lending their support to promote a new HIV awareness campaign. England’s number one, goalkeeper Rachel Brown, and striker Karen Carney are amongst the Olympians who are ambassadors for the charity, Saving Lives.
Saving Lives is a national HIV awareness campaign which aims to improve the public conversation about HIV and HIV testing. It has signed up a range of top male and female footballers, including Stiliyan Petrov, Ben Foster and Curtis Davies, to speak out about the importance of staying healthy – and beating prejudice.
“Saving Lives is trying to encourage people to go and get tested for HIV, regardless of sexuality, because in the end that could save their life,” explains Rachel, who has agreed to become a patron of the charity.
Brown has been joined in her support for the charity by fellow Team GB stars Karen Carney, Eniola Aluko, Jill Scott, Fara Williams and Rachel Williams. The players can be seen raising awareness whist wearing saving lives kit and wrist bands in a series of 7 new promotional videos made especially for the campaign.
Football Saving Lives ambassador Karen Carney explains “Football is a religion to some people and has a massive following. If we can get the message out to just some of those then hopefully we will have helped to raise awareness, reduce stigma and hopefully increased the number of people getting tested and diagnosed in 2012.”
One in four of those with HIV in the UK do not currently know they are infected, and that means they cannot access today’s life-saving medicines, and may be unknowingly passing on the infection to their partners. Taking an HIV test is the only way for a person to find out their status, but stigma and a lack of awareness can often dissuade people from asking or taking a test.
“There was a huge awareness scheme in the early 1980s,” Brown added, “but it seems to have died down in recent years. HIV itself certainly hasn’t died out, however – and it’s important that people go and get themselves checked out.”
Saving Lives aims to increase the number of people taking HIV tests as a means of diagnosing those with HIV earlier – in order to keep everyone healthier. “The people who die of HIV today are those who are diagnosed late,” explained Dr Steve Taylor, the campaign’s Medical Director.
“That’s why the public support of people like Rachel, Karen and their team-mates is so important – it helps us talk to people about HIV in new settings, and renewed HIV awareness really will help to save lives.”