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UN organs train Beijing Olympic volunteers in AIDS awareness
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16:47, June 16, 2008

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Around 5,500 volunteers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have received training on HIV/AIDS to help raise awareness of its prevention and how to avoid discrimination, according to the UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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 (UNDP) 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 hoped 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 jointly convened by the UNAIDS and UN Volunteers (UNV) 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.

The training, co-funded by UNAIDS, UNDP and UNV, is aimed at strengthening volunteer work in China through the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Source: Xinhua

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