Ukraine gives AIDS the Red Card
07 November 2011
The ‘Give AIDS the red card’ campaign, an initiative that uses the power of football to eliminate stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, kicked off on Thursday 27 October in Ukraine. Organized by the Government of Ukraine, the new campaign was launched within the framework of the European Football Championship 2012 to be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland in summer 2012.
“To reach out to young people, we speak ‘football language’ because football unites us regardless of our social, gender, ethnic or religious differences”, said Ravil Safiullin, Head of the State Service for Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
The new campaign also aims to promote safe sex and condom use along with addressing gender inequality, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence. To that end, images of celebrities with the campaign messages will be place on billboards and on metro stations around Kiev and the other country regions. Posters will also be distributed in educational institutions as well as railway stations. Finally, public service announcements will be broadcasted via national media.
The Red Card campaign starts simultaneously in all regions of the country and is supported by the football star Andriy Shevchenko and other celebrities such as singers Ani Lorak and Gaitana and the World’s Strongman 2004 Vasyl’ Virastyuk. UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNFPA as well as civil society organizations such as the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine and La Strada are also supporting the campaign.
We hope that the campaign will help remove existing barriers to an effective national AIDS response and it will bring Ukraine closer to the UNAIDS vision of Zero new HIV infections, Zero AIDS-related deaths and Zero discrimination
UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ukraine, Dr Ani Shakarishvili
“This initiative emphasizes the growing commitment of the Government of Ukraine and the society at large to tackle key social problems facing the country,” said Dr Ani Shakarishvili, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ukraine. “We hope that the campaign will help remove existing barriers to an effective national AIDS response and it will bring Ukraine closer to the UNAIDS vision of Zero new HIV infections, Zero AIDS-related deaths and Zero discrimination”.
The HIV epidemic continues to grow in Ukraine and it has become the most severe of whole of Europe. Only one third of the estimated 350 000 people currently living with HIV is aware of their status and has access to HIV services. Furthermore, only 26 000 people living with HIV are currently on treatment. According to the Stigma Index research conducted in 2010, more than half of Ukrainians living with HIV are victims of some sort of stigma and discrimination.