JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - FIFA will screen advertisements for condoms and HIV educational messages at fan parks during the World Cup in South Africa, which has one of the world’s highest rates of AIDS.
Soccer’s governing body issued a statement on Saturday denying local press reports that it had blocked South African government efforts to distribute millions of condoms and spread information about HIV during the soccer spectacular starting on June 11.
FIFA said it had encouraged the nine host cities to install medical areas at fan parks where condoms would be distributed free together with sun screen and basic medicines.
In addition, FIFA said, HIV-prevention messages and condom advertisements would be broadcast on the giant match-viewing screens in the fan parks.
South Africa, with at least 5.7 million cases in a population of 50 million, has the world’s highest HIV caseload. The disease kills an estimated 1,000 people every day in this country.
FIFA will run a “Football for Hope” tournament in the sprawling township of Alexandra during the World Cup where 32 teams will compete.
The teams of both boys and girls have been chosen from organizations which use soccer to combat social problems including HIV in various countries.
Reporting by Barry Moody; Editing by Jon Bramley