Ronaldo de Assis Moreira—the Brazilian football star also known as Ronaldinho—has accepted an invitation from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Brazil’s Ministry of Health to promote AIDS awareness through sport.

“Ronaldinho is a great inspiration to young people the world over,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “His voice will reach millions of people and bring new energy to our vision of achieving zero new HIV infections.”

Drawing on his years of experience in professional football, Mr de Assis Moreira will use sport as a means of engaging young people and raising awareness around AIDS. “I am honored to stand together with UNAIDS and the Ministry of Health of Brazil in the response to HIV,” said Mr de Assis Moreira. “I am delighted to make a small contribution to this important cause by doing what I do best: playing football.”

Globally there are more than 5 million young people living with HIV and every day, 2400 young people become infected with the virus. Although young people are increasingly learning how to protect themselves, only one-third of young people globally have accurate and comprehensive knowledge of how to protect themselves from HIV.

Brazil has pioneered an effective response to HIV for many years. The Brazilian Minister of Heath, Mr Alexandre Padilha said, “Ronaldinho will be an excellent role model for young people around the world and is passionate about his new role. I am confident that he will be a real asset to the global AIDS response.”

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