UNAIDS, UNFPA BEGIN FIFA 2014 WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN BY ‘PROTECTING THE GOAL’
|UNAIDS Iran and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Iran have kicked off the final countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup through the joint UNAIDS/UNFPA initiative, Protect the Goal. With less than one month to go before the World Cup starts in Brazil and I.R. Iran plays its first match on June 16th against Nigeria, Protect the Goal activities will be ramping up worldwide and in Iran.
Protect the Goal was first launched at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and is a campaign to raise awareness around HIV prevention and encourage young people to get actively involved in both the national and global response to HIV. The campaign has garnered support from around the world, including the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Association (CONMEBOL), and the Asia Football Confederation (AFC).
According to Dr. Fardad Doroudi, UNAIDS Iran Country Coordinator, “Globally, an estimated 4.6 million young people between the ages of 15-24 are living with HIV. Every day, around 2,300 young people are infected with HIV, and many young people living with HIV lack access or aren’t aware of their HIV status. The Protect the Goal campaign emphasizes the need for ensuring that all the 15 million people eligible for life-saving antiretroviral treatment will be able to access it by 2015.”
Dr. M. Hulki Uz, UNFPA Iran Country Representative, says, “Preventing HIV/AIDS amongst youth poses several challenges, which Protect the Goal seeks to address. In I.R. Iran, young men aged 15-24 account for 10.6% of registered HIV/AIDS cases and young women account for 15.4%. Often, there is a low level of awareness among youth on HIV/AIDS prevention. UNFPA is working closely with Government counterparts to prevent high-risk behavior, particularly amongst young people. I am confident that - as has been the case in other fields of reproductive health - I.R. Iran will continue to set an example for other countries in ensuring that every young person is healthy and that his/her potential is fulfilled.”