In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2014, themed “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation”; GrassrootSoccer Nigeria, a Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative organized a football Tournament/Community Event in Ejigbo, Lagos and Eket, Akwa Ibom on December 6, 2014.
Global efforts to fight HIV/AIDS continue to prove successful, but there is need for more work to be done to achieve an AIDS-Free Generation. According to World Health Organization (WHO), in 2013, a record 13 million people were able to access life-saving ARVs.
Too many people still lack access to comprehensive HIV treatment and prevention services. Hence, Grassroot Soccer Nigeria, in partnership with ExxonMobil and the MacAIDSFund, put together this football tournament and community event to raise awareness and inspire positive actions towards closing the gap and preventing the spread of HIV.
Five matches were played in Lagos (3) and Akwa Ibom (2) and the participating teams were: Ireyemi Schools, Mount Olivet Secondary School, Idimu Junior Grammar School and Freedom and Pace Secondary School for Lagos State; and QIC Secondary School, All Weather Secondary School, Government Secondary School and Idung Iniang Youth in Akwa Ibom.
Idimu Junior Grammar School emerged winners in Lagos after beating Ireyemi School 5:3 in a penalty shoot-out in the final game. In Akwa Ibom, QIC Secondary School won the girls tournament and the Idung Iniang Youth team won the boys tournament.
Through partnerships with LSACA and Mission5000 Plus, the event also provided Free Medical Services, Free HIV Testing and Counselling, Malaria Testing and Treatment to people from these communities. A total of 996 people were registered at the tournaments in Lagos (574) and Akwa Ibom (422). A total of 223 people were tested for HIV in Lagos (119) and Akwa Ibom (105), 5 people were positive in Akwa Ibom and 1 person tested positive in Lagos. A total of 364 people were tested for malaria in Lagos (207) and Akwa Ibom (159), 87 people tested positive in Lagos and 18 people tested positive in Akwa Ibom.
Counselling was done and further referrals made for those who tested positive for HIV. Those who tested positive for malaria were given treatment and free bed nets.
As the global community continues to push back the lines against HIV/AIDS, YEDI emphasizes that with consolidated global efforts we can achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.