West Bromwich Albion spread the Saving Lives word at the weekend, when both they and the club they were playing, Wigan Athletic, wore our t-shirts during their warm-up. Saving Lives goalkeeper patron Ben Foster led the coverage on the Baggies’ website:
ALBION’S players will today be showing their support for the ‘Football Saving Lives’ campaign during the pre-match warm-up.
The 18-man squad will wear promotional t-shirts to highlight the launch of the pioneering new HIV awareness charity as they finalise their preparations for the Wigan game (ko 3pm).
Football Saving Lives is a public health campaign focused on promoting the importance of HIV testing.
By 2012, more than 100,000 people in the UK will have HIV – and a quarter will be unaware they have the infection.
That means they cannot access today’s life-saving treatment – and may also be unknowingly passing on the infection.
The launch of Football Saving Lives began on World AIDS Day – December 1 – and keeper Ben Foster has this week voiced his support for the charity’s work.
“This is a fantastic campaign,” he said.
“It makes things so simple.
“Get tested and, if you are negative, you can concentrate on staying healthy.
“If you are positive, getting diagnosed early could save your life.
“The campaign is aiming to get to a stage where HIV testing is just another routine blood test and where everyone feels okay about having a test.”
Dr Steve Taylor, HIV Consultant at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Medical Director of Saving Lives, said: “Football clubs have a huge influence on young people’s behaviour and attitudes.
“By talking more about HIV and HIV testing, hopefully we will slowly start to break down the stigma associated with this infection.
“This in itself could be lifesaving.
“Through education and testing, our aim is to get those people with the infection onto life-saving treatment.
“Getting them onto treatment also prevents the infection spreading.
“The more we can do to emphasise the benefits of taking an HIV test, the sooner we will get on top of the epidemic and save lives.”