Friends Africa on Tuesday unveiled the 2nd Edition of its World AIDS Day ‘Superstars Play for Life’ anti-stigma and discrimination campaign. This campaign designed to create awareness about HIV/AIDS will hold on Saturday, 30th November 2013 at the Campus Mini Stadium, Onikan, Lagos.
The novelty football campaign leverages the convening power of sports to create a platform that offers a vantage point for advocating against the stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. This flexible avenue provides an opportunity to further educate and empower people with information to help prevent new infections as well as increase access to voluntary counselling, testing and care.
The Superstars Play for Life campaign designed to reach over 1 million Nigerians will bring together over 3000 spectators and 300 persons living with HIV to witness the selfless display of renowned football players and Nigeria’s entertainment industry playing against each other to draw attention to the issue.
At the press conference which launched the 2013 edition of this campaign, Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba, CEO, Friends Africa stated that “stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS is the biggest challenge facing the eradication of this pandemic.
The fear of being ostracized doesn’t create an enabling environment for people to boldly access treatment or attempt to know their status”.
She stated that we must commend the work of some exceptional leaders such as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, His Excellency, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo-former President of Nigeria and His Excellency George W. Bush-former President of the United States of America who were at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS”.
This 2013 edition, slated to hold in commemoration of World AIDS Day will provide a 5day week long free voluntary testing and counselling service from November 25th to 30th. At this event, thousands of IEC materials and other educative materials containing useful information about HIV/AIDS prevention, stigmatization and discrimination will also be distributed. It would create an opportunity for people to receive voluntary counselling and testing as well as avail interested partners a unique opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause.
Mr Emmanuel Babayaro, Friends Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador shared nostalgic moments from the 1st edition of the campaign and how the impact of the event had a ripple effect in the lives of many entertainers and celebrities.
He stated that “this event will commence a yearlong national campaign against the stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS”. He also informed delegates at the event that strong efforts were being made to secure some international players and more entertainers who are excited to join the fight and lend a strong voice to ZERO stigmatization.
Mrs. Akeem Adeshina-Omolara, Human Resource Director, GlaxoSmithKline stated at event that “GSK came on board because they understand firsthand that the long term sustainability of this project will greatly impact the lives of Nigerians and most importantly the community of people living with HIV/ AIDS” She informed delegates at the event that GSK remains very focused on increasing the quality of life of Nigerians and also ensuring that people living with HIV are further equipped with all that is needed to lead impactful lives”.
Sound Sultan an award winning artiste said that “Celebrities from all sectors must come out to join the fight against stigma and discrimination.
We must use our platforms to draw attention to the issue, encouraging them to lead their lives to the fullest. We must advocate for a better protection rights so people can boldly come out and get tested so as to receive the treatment that they need”.
Also present was Mr Vincent Opurum, Nollywood actor who stated “that everyone must look forward to this event as it promises to be very engaging”.