UN and major African bank in partnership to raise HIV/AIDS awareness

A hula hoop competition, aimed at raising HIV awareness, taking place at the Nelson Mandela/Soshanguve sports ground in South Africa

16 December 2011 – The United Nations body tasked with combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and one of Africa’s largest banks have formed a two-year partnership to raise public awareness of the pandemic in the continent, the UN agency reported today.

Under the partnership, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will use the Standard Bank Group’s marketing and communication resources across the continent to disseminate knowledge and expertise on responding to AIDS among the bank’s employees and local communities.

In the lead up to World AIDS Day on 1 December, the partnership organized activities in four countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa – on the theme of ‘Getting to zero,’ a UNAIDS campaign promoting a vision of zero HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and complete eradication of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

In South Africa, where the bank is based, activities included community football matches and hula hoop competitions, engagement of local radio stations to conduct competitions around HIV knowledge, condom distribution and HIV information dissemination. Voluntary HIV counselling and testing was also provided and approximately 1,150 people tested over a two week period.

Activities in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria also included community voluntary HIV counselling and testing, condom distribution, HIV information dissemination and a football gala with young people, bankers, ministers and parliamentarians. There were also AIDS awareness-raising sessions conducted among young people in 24 secondary schools by Standard Bank wellness champions.

“Our partnership with the Standard Bank Group is an excellent example of how businesses can significantly contribute to the AIDS response,” said Regina Castillo, head of UNAIDS private sector partnerships. “The Standard Bank Group is making a real difference by keeping both their workforce and their businesses healthy and contributing to the communities in which they work.”

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