On December 1st each year, people across the globe recognize World AIDS Day as an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for those living with HIV and commemorate those who have lost their lives to HIV.
Sports Leagues and Teams Doing Their Part On World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day started in 1988, along with the first ever global health day. The sports industry has rallied in support of this movement, lending its voice to generate awareness and engage fans and communities worldwide.
NBA Cares, teams and athletes have been a significant catalyst in the efforts educate and activate fans around this cause. Players and teams have produced PSAs to educate fans and their local communities about what they can do to get the facts about HIV/AIDS and take steps to protect themselves and others.
Grassroot Soccer is another organization working to fight HIV/AIDS from the ground up.
Founded in 2002, Grassroot Soccer ”uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.” This year, the organization commemorated World AIDS Day with Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing Tournaments across their program sites spanning West and South Africa, combining a fun day of competitive soccer with access to free health services.
A longtime partner of Grassroot Soccer, Nike joined the (RED) campaign back in 2009, debuting signature red laces to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS research, education and prevention initiatives.
The brand engaged soccer superstars Didier Drogba, Joe Cole and Clint Dempsey in a campaign to fight HIV in Africa through the power of sport. Nike continues to donate proceeds from (RED) laces to The Global Fund and many soccer-based programs like Grassroot Soccer to fighting AIDS in Africa.
Liverpool FC has launched a week-long campaign to raise educational awareness for HIV/AIDS in partnership with their kit sponsor, Standard Chartered, which has been an active member in the fight against the disease through the company’s education program for more than 14 years.
LFC is very passionate about its campaign and had great success supporting World AIDS Day last year when the club unveiled a 49-meter ribbon on the pitch. Head of Foundation Operations, Mark Haig noted, “[HIV/AIDS] is a global issue and the club has a global reach…It’s all about using the power of the Liverpool badge to give profile.”
Making A Difference On And Off The Field
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, we reflect on the progress made and thank those who have joined the fight against HIV/AIDS through spreading awareness and supporting efforts to raise funds for continued research and development.
The power of sport is undoubtedly strong on this front, catalyzed further by the power of social media to capture the attention of a global audience about a global issue. The voices of the brands, sports leagues, teams, athletes and NGOs alike were heard loud and clear, and their commitment to mobilizing people and communities to become knowledgable and do their part to eradicate the HIV/AIDS is unquestionable.