16 June 2008
A gay man receives a health and AIDS checkup at a clinic in Beijing in this April 15, 2007 photo. The free health checkup was organized by Xiao Dong's organization - Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group. (newsphoto)
Around 5,500 volunteers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have received HIV/AIDS prevention and destigmatization training, according to UNAIDS, United Nations' agency in the global fight against AIDS.
About 100,000 volunteers received a basic awareness package on AIDS to provide them with important knowledge and skills on HIV prevention and avoiding discrimination, said a statement from the UNAIDS.
The training is also part of the volunteers' preparations during the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Many young people do not have the right information on AIDS fuelling false fears, stigma and discrimination. This is bad in itself, and also hampers HIV prevention work," said Bernhard Schwartlander, UNAIDS country coordinator in China.
"Engaging some of China's most capable young people and making them the messengers of positive and correct knowledge on HIV can help dispel inaccurate myths and break down the stigma and discrimination against people affected by HIV," he said.
Country director of the UN Development Program Subinay Nandy said the Olympics volunteers would be better prepared to inclusively welcome everyone to Beijing during the Games, especially those living with HIV/AIDS.
He hopes they would share the knowledge and look for opportunities to continue volunteering for important development issues such as raising awareness of HIV and AIDS.
The training session on June 14 and 15 was convened by the UNAIDS and the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme and conducted in collaboration with the Beijing Communist Youth League, Marie Stopes International (MSI) China and the Red Cross Society of China. Somepeople living with HIV/AIDS also joined the program as trainers.