A study of Grassroot Soccer and other football for development projects, conducted by Coxswain Social Investment as part of the Football For an HIV Free Generation Initiative, has found that football programs are uniquely successful in preventing the spread of HIV.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – A new study, released by Coxswain Social Investment, finds football programs are uniquely successful in preventing the spread of HIV. As World Cup mania winds down and preparations for the International AIDS Conference accelerate, this is a significant finding for the African continent.

The study, “Using Football for HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa”, was conducted in the months leading up to the World Cup. The question for the researchers was, “Football has tremendous convening power, but do football‐based programs really make a difference in preventing HIV?” According to the study, the answer is unequivocally ‐ yes.

Most importantly, the study found football programs can lead to profound behavior change, which is the key to prevention. All successful cases of reversing national HIV epidemics involved widespread changes in behavior.

The study also highlighted that football programs are successful with hard‐to‐reach audiences and at tackling sensitive issues within the safety of the team. Because of its appeal to young audiences, football can reach those most at risk. Half of all new infections in sub‐Saharan Africa occur between the ages of 15 and 24.

The AIDS epidemic is the most significant public health challenge on the African continent. More than two‐thirds (67%) of those living with HIV are in Africa. While preventing new infections is the key to reversing the epidemic, globally prevention services reach only 20 percent of those in need.

Coxswain Social Investment (CSI+) conducted the study using interviews, research, and survey questionnaires. While it is not a UNAIDS study, experts from UNAIDS contributed their time, experience, and resources to the evaluation. It is a legacy product of the Football for an HIV‐Free Generation Initiative. Charlotte Obidairo will represent CSI+ at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

Download the study here:  http://www.coxsi.com/News.html