The IOC and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which both organisations agreed to combine their efforts to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, particularly among the sport community.
The signing ceremony took place at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne in the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge and UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot.
The main objectives of the MoU are to exchange regular information and lessons learned in order to enhance the role of sports organisations in the fight against AIDS at community and national levels, and to organise AIDS awareness activities with coaches, athletes and sports personalities.
As a first step, the IOC will produce and distribute an HIV/AIDS awareness card to the 11,000 athletes who will take part in the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens this summer.
"The world of sport is not separate from the rest of the world,"
said IOC President Jacques Rogge on signing the MoU. "Sport breaks down barriers, promotes self-esteem, and can teach life skills and healthy behaviour. Athletes can be an inspiration and role models for the youth of the world. This signature will allow the IOC and UNAIDS to undertake coordinated efforts in order to help combat HIV/AIDS."
A few weeks from now, on 17-18 June, UNAIDS, the IOC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will hold the Olympic Sport and HIV/AIDS Workshop in Johannesburg. The event will gather experts and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to discuss how sport could help support national and international efforts to curb the spread of the AIDS epidemic, especially among young people.
"One third of the 40 million people living with HIV are young people under 25, many of whom are involved in sports, either as spectators or as participants,"
said Dr Peter PIOT, UNAIDS Executive Director. "It is vitally important for young people to have access to information about HIV so that they can stay HIV-free and lead healthy and productive lives. The sports community is a key partner in reaching out to young men and women, whether in their village or town, or globally."