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Sing it out, say it loud: Ending AIDS through music, arts, sports and activism
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Rana Umair Asif was invited to speak at the Slam Jam session that was held at the Global Youth Village (Main Stage) International AIDS Conference 2018, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The session theme was ‘Youth Leadership and Innovation in HIV and SRHR.’ I introduced the idea of how we can use sports to fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic while other youngsters talked about music, dialogue, theatre and dance as a tool to boost HIV/AIDS campaigns. I used my SDP (Sport for Development and Peace) model to relate SDP and HIV/AIDS. The four factors of the model are sociological, psychological, political and economic. The model defines the following sub-factors:

  • Mobilisation: The power of sports help to mobilise people, and those platforms could be used to deliver social messages and awareness
  • Zero discrimination: In SDP programmes the power of sport helps to attain equality and youth regardless of gender, religious and social differences
  • Belonging: These programmes create a sense of belonging for HIV/AIDS- affected people. Also, disadvantaged and minority groups feel included in society
  • Health: As we know since our childhoods, sports/physical activities improve mental and physical health. It helps troubled youth with trauma relief and programmes strengthen their physical health. It reduces stress, which is beneficial for disease-affected people and also for minority groups. Parallel to mental and physical health mainly I would say it helps to enhance sexual and reproductive health

Practical sports activities have been used for precaution awareness such as in soccer where an empty goal post symbolises free sex, and a goalkeeper is required to stop a goal, or a precaution is mandatory to avoid disease.

Gender equality

Sports promote gender equality through specially designed team-based SDP activities. The power of sports could be used to promote gender equality among different genders. It is a good way to include the LGBT community through sports.  

Safe spaces

In SDP activities, we create a safe space in the form of a sports field. A safe space provides youth the opportunity to talk about taboos (HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)) free of societal pressure and restrictions.

During the session, youth and all other stakeholders including sex workers and LGBT youth participated and learnt how sports could be used to fight against HIV/AIDS and to talk about SRHR in parallel to other tools.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]

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