SANAC discusses the power of sport in tackling HIV
Ahead of World AIDS Day 2018, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) on Thursday 29 November 2018 hosted a fun and interactive dialogue on sport and its impact, role and opportunity for HIV prevention. SANAC used World AIDS Day 2018 as an opportunity to harness the power of sport to reduce stigma and discrimination, increase education and empower young people to adopt healthy behaviours to prevent HIV in South Africa.
“Millions of sports fans take part or watch sport every week in South Africa. Sport stimulates passion and has the capacity to unite us. It is also a powerful force for change and information sharing on issues such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB)” said Dr. Nevilene Slingers, SANAC Executive Manager for Resource Mobilisation, who delivered they keynote address at the event.
In recent years an increasing array of projects have been leveraging the power of sport to promote inclusion, life skills, health, and educational messaging, to accelerate progress towards the sustainable development goals.
Global development partners, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria attended the dialogue, acknowledging the potential of sport as an impact booster for wider development interventions, particularly with vulnerable youth. Soccer player Thandani “Bibo” Ntshumayelo also participated in the dialogue, raising awareness about substance abuse and sharing his story of turning his life around. “Soccer changed my life, and I almost watched it slip away because of my bad decisions,” Ntshumayelo commented. The highlight of the evening, however, was the National Strategic Plan Goal scoring challenge, where sports presenter Lebo Motsoeli invited the “Dream Team” consisting of partners
from LoveLife, the Department of Health and UNAIDS to each shoot one of the NSP goals into the net. Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters waving foam fingers, the team members could not afford to miss the mark. “More than ever, sport can be a catalyst in our society to improve quality of life and human well-being and help us move closer to ending HIV and TB,” concluded SANAC’s Dr Nevilene Slingers.