Terrence Higgins Trust urges African men to ‘Play it Safe’ at World AIDS Day football tournament
HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is inviting African men in Greater London to mark World AIDS Day by taking part in a free five-a-side football tournament on Sunday 2nd December at Docklands Powerleague. The tournament is part of the charity’s ‘Play It Safe’ project, an initiative funded by Anglo American Group Foundation, which aims to encourage regular HIV testing among Africans living in London.
The event is being delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust in partnership with African community football teams from across London. Local teams who have already signed up to take part in the special World AIDS Day event include London Cranes, Zed United, Luton Aces and MSSFC-Pathway.
Africans are one of the groups most at risk of HIV in the UK, accounting for around 65 per cent of new heterosexual diagnoses in the UK in 2010. However, one in four Africans with HIV currently remains unaware of their condition. People who are diagnosed late can face serious health problems and also risk passing on the virus to others unwittingly
Throughout the tournament, Terrence Higgins Trust staff will be on hand to provide advice and information about sexual health to players and spectators. Trained clinical staff will also be providing free, rapid and confidential HIV tests on request. Testing is done using a finger-prick blood test, which returns a result within one minute. Everyone who is tested will be given information and support before and after taking the test, and anyone who tests positive will be quickly referred to a specialist clinic.
Taku Mukiwa, coordinator ‘Play It Safe’ project, said: “Our World AIDS Day tournament not only promises to be a great day out, it is also a chance for footballers and spectators to get more information about how to stay safe and healthy. The African community is still one of the groups most at risk of HIV in the UK. Advances in medical technology mean you can now get a result within just minutes – so there is really no better time to take a test.”
David Doherty, manager of the MSSFC-Pathway team, who will be taking part in the tournament said: “The Play It Safe tournament is a great opportunity for local teams to come together and compete in a fun event, while learning more about looking after their health, getting the latest information about HIV, and taking the opportunity to get tested. We hope that our involvement will be an example other teams out there – to show them that it’s better to know your HIV status for sure.”
The Play It Safe World AIDS Day Cup tournament takes place at Docklands Powerleague, NCP Car Park Seldon Way, City Harbour, Tower Hamlets, London, E14 9GL on Sunday 2nd December. The event will see up to 12 teams compete for the coveted World AIDS Day Play It Safe trophy. The tournament is free to attend, and visitors can also enjoy a variety of traditional African foods and drinks.
For further information or to register for Terrence Higgins Trust’s Play It Safe World AIDS Day Cup for free, please contact Taku Mukiwa firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 812 1789 or 07867727330.