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Minister and Marcus Horan highlight the role of education and sport in tackling HIV and AIDS

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Africa, 2012

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello and Munster rugby player Marcus Horan will today highlight the importance of sport, education and music in preventing HIV and AIDS.

At a lecture to mark World Aids Day in the University of Limerick, Minister Costello will set out the progress which has been made in tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world, while Marcus Horan will speak of how sport and community leadership can encourage young people to live a positive and healthy life. 

To mark World AIDS Day 2012, Irish Aid is hosting “The Irish Aid Father Michael Kelly World AIDS Day Event” on the theme of “Education, Sports and Music – Social Vaccines against AIDS” this evening.

Minister Costello said:

“There has been great progress in fighting the AIDS epidemic around the world and Ireland has been a key partner in that success. There are now 8 million people on treatment in developing countries, an increase of almost 3 million in just two years.  For the first time in history, developing countries are investing more in addressing their own epidemics than international donors, which has proved very significant in addressing this devastating epidemic.

“However, we must not be complacent. There are now more people living with HIV - including in Ireland - than ever before. In Sub Saharan Africa, where our aid programme is focused, AIDS has orphaned 14 million children, while more than 1.2 million people died of AIDS last year.

“Protecting young people is essential to fighting this epidemic and education, music and sports play a very important role in this. Community leadership, often channelled through schools and music and sports clubs, is critical in providing guidance and support to young people and encouraging them to lead healthy, positive lives.”

In addition to Marcus Horan, speakers at this evening’s lecture will include Fr Michael Kelly, who received  the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for his work in the field of peace, reconciliation and development this month; Ann Mason of the Red Ribbon Project in Limerick and Professor Sarah Moore of University of Limerick.

Professor Tom Lodge, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, at the university said:

“HIV and AIDS is not just an issue that concerns developing countries, though we can learn lessons from the way they have addressed it.  HIV and AIDS is a global pandemic and it can affect our lives in Ireland.  That will be a key theme in this evening’s event.  HIV and AIDS is about us and our own communities, here in Limerick.”

The lecture takes place in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, in the University of Limerick from 5pm to 7pm this evening.