The just concluded Olympics and Paralympics held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil were not just about sporting activities. The Olympics provided an opportunity for a campaign dubbed #EuAbraco or #iEmbrace inspired by values such as diversity, friendship and togetherness.
The campaign was a massive public health initiative of UNFPA, Brazil’s Ministry of Health, the European Union and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The initiative concentrated on sharing information on sexual and reproductive health, human rights, tolerance and togetherness as well as giving condoms to the Olympics participants, spectators and fans.
The #iEmbrace campaign started giving out leaflets on gender-based violence, racism, human rights and preventing sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and Zika on the 4th of August 2016. More than half a million male and female condoms were also distributed and this continued till the end of the activities with the Paralympic games ending on 18th September.
The campaign also used social media to reach out to people by launching the “hugmeter” which allowed participants to post photos of them hugging other people.
Getting the Message to those Affected
Poverty, discrimination and diseases such as HIV and Zika are all challenges that face the marginalized communities in Brazil. For instance, about 4 million women in Brazil are believed to need contraceptives. #EuAbraco aimed to take advantage of the Olympic’s spirit to reach their message to these populations.
The campaign targeted large crowds of people such as the live sites where mammoth crowds were drawn by large screens showing the Olympic events. An adapted bus offered by the municipal administration offered condoms, HIV testing and information on sexual and reproductive health information to all those who came across it. Moreover, condom dispensers were installed at the Olympic Village by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Olympics participants were not left behind as it is reported that condoms were made available to them.
Taking on Diversity
The hugmeter, inspired by the 6th principle of the Olympic Charter; the principle of non-discrimination, helped to create awareness of the activities done under the campaign. The hugmeter took into consideration the total wingspan of everyone who was part of the hug and putting the numbers together to a symbolic collective hug target.
Values of equality, non-discrimination and respect, important in the promotion of human rights, were shared in an easy but fun way with the #iEmbrace campaign. The campaign also shed some light on important issues facing people all over the world that they do not have adequate information on.
These issues include sexual and reproductive health, racism as well as HIV and Zika transmission. Through the campaign, messages on how the two viruses are transmitted were shared. Additionally, the campaign sent out messages on the prevention of HIV and the new Zika virus which is also spread by unsafe sex with infected persons. After all, knowledge is power.
The campaign encouraged fighting stigma and bias towards people living with HIV through sharing the message of friendship, diversity and unity and should be replicated around the world.
Prevention Is Key
Prevention is always key to preventing the spread of STDs like HIV and Gonorrhea, which in recent years has mutated into a superbug that is hard to cure. Practice safe sex methods like using condoms, being faithful to a single sexual partner or even abstinence. If one lives an active sexual lifestyle, then frequent
If one lives an active sexual lifestyle, then frequent STD testing should be done in order to diagnose any potential infections early so that treatment can start as soon as possible. Sometimes, accidental exposure to the HIV virus happens, especially to health workers, this is where knowledge of potential life-saving options become critical – HIV PEP is such a treatment option where if treatment starts within the first 72 hours of exposure, chances of HIV infection becomes very low.
Contact Shim Clinic as soon as possible where if you have any questions or if you need treatment or testing straight away.