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UNAIDS and Italian football team up against AIDS
<p>Feature story</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
November 30, 2012

To mark World AIDS Day, the Italian football league ‘Serie A’ will dedicate 2 days to UNAIDS. As part of the Together We Will End AIDS initiative, ten football matches on the 2nd and 3rd of December will call attention to and promote action toward the UNAIDS goal of zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Accompanying the players, young supporters will carry Together We Will End AIDS banners onto the fields, and the club managers will wear red ribbons symbolising solidarity towards people living with HIV. Renowned players such as Robinho from AC Milan, Cavani from Napoli, and Zanetti from Inter will release interviews and photos in support of the initiative. The campaign aims to utilize the influence and outreach of football to raise awareness about AIDS and mobilize resources towards UNAIDS’ response to the epidemic.

On Saturday 24 November, UNAIDS collaborated with the Italian Rugby Federation during a rugby match between Italy and Australia. The match, which ended with a 19-22 victory for Australia, took place at the Franchi stadium in Florence, and was aimed at mobilizing Italian civil society and the general public to support the work of UNAIDS in achieving its target of Getting to Zero.

Sport can be a powerful force for change, and can play a key role in the response to AIDS, especially when it comes to educating people on HIV prevention and campaigning against stigma and discrimination.

UNAIDS has used football in many occasions to create a greater public awareness of the AIDS epidemic. German football star Michael Ballack and Korean football coach Myong-Bo Hong both support UNAIDS as International Goodwill Ambassadors. In February 2012, Brazilian football legend Pelé and others joined Gabon’s CAN without AIDS campaign. Another Brazilian football star, Ronaldinho, made a commitment last year to use his influence to promote AIDS awareness. A campaign entitled Give AIDS the Red Card was launched at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It saw the players and teams come together in a commitment to eliminate new HIV infections in children and keep their mothers alive by the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.