Project #1885

Using the power of soccer to fight HIV/AIDS

by Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)
Jun 25, 2010

Research Study on HIV/AIDS

Coxswain Social Investment Plus, on behalf of Football for an HIV Free Generation (F4), is pleased to release the study, “Using Football for HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa.” Thank you for contributing your time to assist with the evaluation and for your continued work in fighting HIV and AIDS.

To help your organization take advantage of the study release and the media attention for the World Cup and the upcoming International AIDS Conference, we have put together a media toolkit. This kit contains the following materials:

 Press release  Questions and answers on the report  Fact sheet on football for HIV prevention in Africa

We encourage you to reach out to your local media contacts both to publicize your work and to build further awareness on football as a vehicle for preventing HIV/AIDS in African youth. We hope the tools we have assembled will assist you.

We also anticipate that you will be able to use the study to gain recognition and mobilize funding for your important work.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Vijana Amani Pamoja JUNE 23, 2010 254723954556

Football Programs Score Against HIV/AIDS

NAIROBI, KENYA – A new study, released by Coxswain Social Investment, finds football programs are uniquely successful in preventing the spread of HIV. Vijana Amani Pamoja is featured in the study for its success in using the power of soccer in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The study, “Using Football for HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa”, was conducted in the months leading up to the World Cup. The question for the researchers was, “Football has tremendous convening power, but do football-based programs really make a difference in preventing HIV?” According to the study, the answer is unequivocally - yes.

Most importantly, the study found football programs can lead to profound behavior change, which is the key to prevention. All successful cases of reversing national HIV epidemics involved broad-based changes in behavior.

The study also highlighted that football programs are successful with hard-to-reach audiences and at tackling sensitive issues within the safety of the team. Because of its appeal to young audiences, football can reach those most at risk. Half of all new infections in sub-Saharan Africa occur between the ages of 15 and 24.

The AIDS epidemic is the most significant public health challenge on the African continent. More than two-thirds (67%) of those living with HIV are in Africa. While preventing new infections is the key to reversing the epidemic, globally prevention services reach only 20 percent of those in need.

Coxswain Social Investment conducted the study using interviews, research, and survey questionnaires. While it is not a UNAIDS study, experts from UNAIDS contributed their time, experience, and resources to the evaluation. It is a legacy product of the Football for an HIV-Free Generation Initiative.


“Using Football for HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa” Questions and Answers

Q: What is the study’s most significant finding?

A: Football-based HIV prevention programs are particularly successful in creating lasting behavior change. This is the key to reversing the epidemic, as successful national programs have shown.

They are able to create this change for many reasons, including the interactive nature of the coach-player relationship, the emphasis on skills transfer inherent in football training, and the supportive team environment.

Q: What are the other main findings of the study?

A: In addition to successful behavior change, the study found the following:  Football-based programs are an exceptionally flexible platform for prevention programs;  They empower individual coaches and peers to make a difference;  Programs are rooted in participants’ lives;  Football-based programs can also teach correct condom use;  Programs serve vulnerable groups in hard-to-reach settings;  There is a major role for media in highlighting local leaders and spreading messages;  Celebrity footballers and coaches can play a transformative role;  Football programs are effective foundations for partnerships, and  Football tournaments and other gatherings can be used to offer a range of health services and lower the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

Q: Who conducted the study?

A: Coxswain Social Investment conducted the study using interviews, research, and survey questionnaires. While it is not a UNAIDS study, experts from UNAIDS contributed their time, experience, and resources to the evaluation.

Q: Are celebrity footballers effective spokespeople for HIV prevention?

A: Celebrity footballers do bring international attention and prestige to programs, increasing the commitment of those operating them. At the same time, many programs use local coaches and peer mentors as spokespeople, with a great deal of success. Highlighting local leaders encourages others to follow in their path.

Q: What role can media play?

A: Media can highlight the work of individual players and coaches, encouraging others to get involved. It can also transmit prevention messages and support advocacy efforts.

Kicking HIV/AIDS out of Africa A Fact Sheet on Football for HIV Prevention Among African Youth

HIV and AIDS in Africa

 The AIDS epidemic remains the most significant public health challenge in Africa.  22.4 million people were living with HIV in Africa at the end of 2008, accounting for more than two-thirds (67%) of all those living with HIV.  In sub-Saharan Africa, half of all new infections are estimated to occur among those aged 15 to 24.

Reversing the Epidemic

 New HIV infections were reduced by 17% over the eight years preceding 2009.  Prevention is the key to reversing the epidemic.  As a sexually transmitted disease, human behavior is the main variable.  Research shows that football-based programs can create long-lasting behavior change.  Countries reporting declines in HIV prevalence have recorded the biggest changes in behavior and prevalence among young people.  In all cases where national HIV epidemics have been reversed, broad-based behavior changes were central to success.  HIV prevention services globally reached only 20% of those in need in 2005.  Prevention service coverage for populations at higher risk of exposure was even lower.


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Organization Information

Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nancy Waweru
Nairobi, Kenya
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