South Africa

'Brothers for Life' media campaign to raise HIV awareness in South Africa

Reaching out to men and boys for the FIFA World Cup 2010

A 'Brothers for Life' public service annoucement featuring South African national football team member Teko Modise. The advertisement will be disseminated during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 2 June 2010 – ‘Brothers for Life,’ a mass-media HIV prevention campaign targeting South African men, received  a boost recently as a number of world-class sports personalities signed on as supporters. 

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Brothers for Life has succeeded in shaping a new conversation with men, whose behaviour can put them – and others – at risk of contracting HIV.

The campaign seeks to reinforce positive behaviour and asks men to stand up and take action to prevent HIV and AIDS. It also tackles gender-based violence and helps men improve their own health – and, by extension, the health of their families and communities.

Famous faces

Through a new series of high-profile public service announcements, Brothers for Life is taking its message to the masses. The advertisements, which enourage young men to take action to stem the spread of HIV, will be disseminated during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, scheduled to begin in June.

South African national rugby team Captain John Smit is one of several international sports celebrities partnering with the HIV prevention campaign, 'Brothers for Life'.

Among the famous faces featured in the advertisements are South African footballers Teko Modise, Matthew Booth and Benni McCarthy, South African rugby captain John Smit, South African cricket captain Graeme Smith and Bulls rugby player Tiger Mangweni. International football superstars including Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra and Mame Biram Diof and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Yaya Touré, Thierry Henry and Seydou Keita have also joined in to support the campaign.

“I believe I can play a role in spreading the message of responsibility and decency among men,” said South African national football team member Matthew Booth. He added that he hopes the campaign will influence the sexual decisions of young men – and therefore directly impact the health of women and families.

Sharing the burden of risk

In South Africa, like most of sub-Saharan Africa, women are often at the greatest risk of HIV infection. In the nine southern African nations most affected by HIV, prevalence among young women aged 15–24 years is, on average, about three times higher than among men of the same age. In sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, women account for approximately 60 per cent of estimated HIV infections. 

The Brothers for Life logo.

“The beauty of this campaign is that it addresses gender and power relations in a new way,” said Rick Olson, UNICEF Regional HIV Prevention Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa. “Instead of just talking to women about protecting themselves against HIV, Brothers for Life seeks to reach boys and men in an engaging way that makes them understand the importance of doing the right thing – not just for themselves, but for women and their families.”

Brothers for Life seeks to address the risks associated with having multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships, men’s limited involvement in fatherhood, and the widespread lack of knowledge of one’s HIV status.

'All men should be responsible'

For South African national football team member Teko Modise, the effects of HIV and AIDS are deeply felt. The epidemic has touched many families in Mr. Modise’s home region – including his own. “It is so important for us all to know our HIV status and live our lives accordingly,” he said.

“All men should be responsible when it comes to their health and well-being, and that of their families,” added John Smit, who led the South African national rugby team, known as the Springboks, to their second Rugby World Cup win in 2007. 

During the FIFA World Cup 2010, public service announcements starring Mr. Modise, Mr. Smit and many of their sporting colleagues will be broadcast twice during all the matches. Radio messages will play on local and community radio stations, and outdoor billboards will be prominent around South Africa.

Brothers for Life was conceived by the non-governmental organization Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa. The campaign was launched in 2009 by the US Agency for International Development, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the South African National AIDS Council, UNICEF, UNAIDS and several civil society partners. In an effort to increase male involvement in HIV prevention, plans are in the works for the campaign to be rolled out in other African countries  including  Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania – in the coming months.

For more information, please visit http://www.brothersforlife.org/.




Watch a 'Brothers for Life' public service announcement featuring Manchester United football star Patrice Evra.
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