Protect The Goal: Football Against AIDS
Author: Mirela Cosic
Friday 16th of May 2014 11:19:44 AM

One of the things that makes teenagers feel better is sports. Thanks to sports, teenagers are more active and a lot healthier. For a lot of them sports is a great part of their life. It is also one of the things we strongly recommend to our kids when they’re still young, because we know that it will have a positive effect on their lives. Sports, a strong element of the pop culture which has a great impact on young people’s lives.
 

Just 7 years ago pro athletes were saying stuff like this: “I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic.”
 

But through the years we have seen some positive changes in the sports world when it comes to coming out as LGBT or supporting and taking action against HIV/AIDS.  I’m talking about famous athletes such as:
 

·         Michael Sam

·         Steven Davies: first professional cricketer to come out

·         Robbie Rogers: American footballer

·         Justin Fashanu: one of the first footballers paling for England and who came out as gay in the media.

·         Thomas Hitzlsperger: Played for Germany and England and came out in 2014.

·         Nadine Angerer:  German football player and a lesbian.

·         Anton Hysén
 

These are just a few names. Some of them are even playing for the Premier League.
 

Then there’s  people like Magic Johnson who came out and talked about being HIV positive.  Magic Johnson was married at the time he discovered this news. During his playing career he had multiple sex partners. This is probably how he got infected. Luckily his wife and child didn’t have HIV. Johnson did retire from the NBA but kept playing in small competitions which he also used to inspire HIV positive people.
 

And today campaigns like ‘Protect The Goal’ are being organized. Protect The Goal is an innovative partnership between UNAIDS, the Asian Football Confederation and the Asian Development Bank. They decided to come together and promote a multi-country football-based HIV prevention programme in the region.  Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand have joined hands in carrying out activities so that they can help address HIV transmission among young people.
 

Myanmar has already kicked off its campaign in April with a football match at the national stadium. By implementing activities focusing on young people in schools, football clubs and other venues, the campaign promotes the importance of HIV testing and also the elimination of stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV. Cambodia has also kicked off their campaign in March. Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines will follow today, May 16.
 

This initiative is all a part of the global campaign of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil which will  be launched on June 9.

 

The sports world truly has a great impact on people and by doing projects like ‘Protect The Goal’ athletes and sports pros can use their popularity for a good cause. 

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