At the 2nd European Games 2019 taking place in Minsk, Belarus, athletes and spectators are receiving information about HIV, free access to condoms and the possibility of taking a free rapid HIV test.
Thanks to a partnership between UNAIDS, the directorate of the games, the ministry of health of Belarus, the parliament of Belarus, civil society organizations and the United Nations country team, Zero Discrimination zones offering HIV services have been established throughout the site hosting the games.
The main #zerodiscrimination pavilion was opened by the UNAIDS Ambassador for the European Games, Alexei Yagudin, the world champion figure skater and olympic gold medallist.
“The 2nd European Games are free from discrimination for everyone – regardless of your nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation or HIV status,” said Mr. Yagudin.
The UNAIDS Zero Discrimination zones are placed around the official fan zone, the main sports stadium and in the athletes’ village. The zones are staffed by more than 90 dedicated volunteers, mostly doctors and nurses, who provide HIV information, HIV counselling and rapid testing and access to free condoms. Ahead of the games, UNAIDS had also provided extensive training on HIV and sexual and reproductive health to hundreds of volunteers.
In addition, the national TV Channel ONT, in close collaboration with UNAIDS, produced two public service announcements on zero discrimination and equal opportunity for all. They have been broadcast in more than 20 public venues in Minsk, on all national TV channels and during live broadcasts of the games.
Carrying the official torch of the games, the “Flame of Peace”, UNAIDS regional director Vinay Saldanha said “I am proud to carry this Flame of Peace on behalf of UNAIDS and on behalf of people who deserve to live free from discrimination, including people living with HIV that are competing in and visiting these games in Minsk.”
The 2nd European Games opened officially on 21 June and will continue until 30 June. More than 4000 athletes from 50 countries are participating in the Games, competing in 15 sports across 23 disciplines, 8 of which will also serve as qualifying events for the Olympics Games 2020 in Tokyo.