Condoms Make Splash at World Cup
Reuters News has reported that Brazilian health officials handed out condoms to World Cup fans in Sao Paulo last Friday, taking advantage of the games and festivities in the city to test people for HIV.
"We can’t miss an opportunity like this," Ivone De Paula, told the news agency. De Paula is Sao Paulo state’s coordinator for sexually transmitted disease prevention. "The fact that it’s the Cup lightens the mood a bit. People say ’Hey I’m going to watch the game, I’m having fun, why not get tested too?’"
The program is part of the UNAIDS "Protect the Goal" HIV/AIDS prevention program. The initiative provides rapid HIV testing and counseling, as well as free condoms and emergency retroviral drugs. It’s also being offered in 11 other cities across Sao Paulo state where visiting World Cup teams are based.
While a giant screen displayed the Cameroon match against Mexico, hundreds of fans went in for testing De Paula stated that for many of them it "was the first time ever."
"I had no idea this was going to be here, I just came across it," a middle-aged man who asked not to be identified told Reuters. "I wouldn’t know where to get tested otherwise, so this helps quite a lot."
The Special Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Djibril Diallo, explained that the ’Protect the Goal’ campaign is a global advocacy initiative, involving countries from all continents, including Africa. They hope to harness the power of sports around the 24 teams playing for the FIFA World Cup.