HIV, South Africa and the World Cup

Keep a Clean SheetThe HIV, South Africa and the World Cup event marks the launch of www.keepacleansheet.co.uk – a new website designed to inform fans about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during the World Cup in South Africa.

Thousands of British football fans are expected to travel to South Africa in June and July, but many of them will not be aware that the country has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, with roughly one in five adults infected. As HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex there are concerns that some fans, high on beer and atmosphere, may take risks they could regret.

But www.keepacleansheet.co.uk – which is the brainchild of the APPG, HIVsport and Durex and has the support of the Foreign Office and the Terrence Higgins Trust – hopes to encourage football fans to be aware of the risks associated with STIs and make sure they protect themselves properly.

To pledge their support to the initiative, MPs from all parties will be signing an England football shirt which will be auctioned off to raise money for HIV charity work in South Africa.

New Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham said: “We are working closely with South Africa to ensure that all our travelling fans can enjoy their time in the country and stay as safe as possible. Our message is enjoy yourself but don’t put yourself at risk.”

The website also offers advice for those who won’t be travelling to South Africa, as fans watching the World Cup at home or travelling to other countries could also be at risk. Recent research has found that nearly one in ten 18-34 year-olds in the UK drink so much while watching sporting events, in person or on TV, that they can’t remember what they did afterwards.

Director of HIVsport, Stephen Bitti, advises fans at home and abroad to “have fun, stay safe, and make sure STIs are not part of your World Cup experience.”