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UMLAZI: AHF to Launch Popular 'Love Condoms' Campaign Worldwide

US' Largest AIDS Group Partners with Respected Local Groups in Africa, Latin America and the Asia Pacific Region in Ambitious Free Condom Distribution Campaign and Increased HIV Testing Efforts

In South Africa, AHF's Ithembalabantu Clinic Will Host a Launch Event on Saturday, August 1st at Mega City, Providing Free HIV Testing, as Part of South Africa's 'Love Condoms' Campaign Kickoff

By: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Los Angeles, CA - July 29, 2009 - AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest AIDS organization in the US and which currently provides HIV/AIDS medical care and/or services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and the Asia Pacific Region, is proud to announce the global launch of its popular 'Love Condoms' Campaign "-innovative, local free condom distribution campaigns and stepped-up free HIV testing efforts in several hard-hit countries-with a series of events in numerous countries around the world. The various worldwide launches, which will take place beginning Saturday, August 1st, come on the heels of AHF's recent successful launch of the 'Love Condoms' campaign in Swaziland and India, where the innovative HIV prevention and awareness campaign was well received by the target audience-the public-as well as local and national media.

AHF's Ithembalabantu Clinic will host a launch event and community awareness campaign to kick off South Africa's component of the global 'LOVE Condoms' campaign. The campaign will focus on educating the community on the importance of getting tested and consistent use of condoms. The launch event will take place at Mega City on the 1st of August 2009, from 09h00-15h00. There will be free testing at the event and the aim is to encourage people to know their status, stay healthy and stay negative. Activities for the day include an educational stage play by Amanguni Production featuring the local TV actor /comedian Thabo Mnguni known as "Bra Steve in Family Bond Programme and performances by "Zuka and Zwide", wise words boys and others.

WHAT: South Africa "LOVE Condoms" Launch

WHEN: Saturday, August 1, 2009--09H00- 15H00

WHERE: Mega City Shopping Centre, Umlazi

WHO: Thabo Mnguni, TV actor, local performers "Zuka and Zwide", Wise Words boys, Society for Family Health , DOH and other community based organizations.

CONTACTS: Dolly Mthabela, AHF's Southern Africa Bureau 082 490 2413 m 031 266 2731 w

Lori Yeghiayan, AHF Assoc. Dir. of Communications (323) 377-4312 m (323) 860-5227 w

"The 'Love Condoms' campaign that we are now launching globally features AHF's own specially-branded 'LOVE' condoms-eye catching, bright red foil condom packets with the word 'LOVE' printed on the wrapper which is also printed with the url 'getfreecondoms.org'," said Terri Ford, Senior Global Policy Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "These condoms will be distributed for free in countries across the globe where AHF has existing partnerships and/or treatment clinics as well in other countries that have shown an interest and willingness to participate in this important awareness and prevention campaign. I was honored to participate in the recent launch in India, noting that the worldwide launch of the 'Love Condoms' campaign offers us a new beginning toward restoring the condom to its critical place at the front-line of effective global AIDS prevention and control. Combined efforts that include encouraging the widespread use of condoms, community testing and universal access to antiretroviral treatment will bring new infections down drastically."

"The 'Love Condoms' campaign is just the beginning of a worldwide movement that can take safer sex to a higher level worldwide," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "It is my hope that each of our partners in these coming campaign launches over the next few weeks enjoy the same successes as were seen in both Swaziland and India."

About The Love Condom Campaign
This campaign is aimed to bring public-private partnership to address access to free condoms and shall complement ongoing social marketing and free distribution of condoms promoted by GOI. Health is a state subject and we are particularly interested to interact directly with the decision makers at the helm of affairs to keep transparency and accountability at the forefront of our campaign.

The LOVE Condom Campaign's goal is to scale-up global support for renewed condom usage by distributing TEN MILLION WHO approved, high-quality condoms FREE of charge to any individual, non-governmental or government agency that makes a commitment to support the campaign's aim of achieving 100% access to free condoms worldwide. To achieve 'Global AIDS Control' an aggressive re-integration of condoms is critical to success. The ABC model of Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condoms, proven to be so successful in countries such as Uganda, loses its strength without the C - CONDOMS. The campaign vows to base public health initiatives on science rather than on political or religious motivated agendas the time is now to call for CONDOMS to be brought back to the forefront.

Why are Condoms So Important for Global HIV and STD Control?
If global AIDS control is defined as an absolute reduction in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, then condoms are key to successfully achieving that goal. Treatment has played a crucial role in bringing hope to millions and in motivating masses of people to be tested. The huge success of the recent World AIDS Day - 1 Million Test campaign-during which men, women and children lined up across the globe to be tested-demonstrates that people want to know their status.

The simple formula for global AIDS control involves identifying those who are undiagnosed and linking them to treatment, which will render them less infectious. In addition, we must promote the only known method for preventing the sexual transmission of HIV: condoms.

Condoms are cheaper and are relatively easy to use. They are almost 100% effective when used correctly. Various societies have had success in bringing about higher acceptance of condom use. Many studies show that most people who know they are positive want to protect their partners. Lack of availability of condoms and their retail cost are significant factors in failure to use condoms.

Combined efforts that include encouraging the widespread use of condoms, mass testing and universal access to antiretroviral treatment will bring new infections down drastically.

To learn more about the LOVE Condom and Ten Million Tests campaigns, visit www.getfreecondoms.org and www.tenmilliontests.com

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 80,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org

Contact:
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
UNITED STATES
Ged Kenslea
,
Communications Director, AHF
(323) 860-5225 work,
(323) 791-5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Lori Yeghiayan,
Associate Director of Communications, AHF
(323) 860-5227 work,
(323) 377-4312 mobile
lori.yeghiayan@aidshealth.org


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