International motor racer participates in World AIDS Day HIV testing campaign
The international motor racing star, Dilantha Malagamuwa displayed a red ribbon on his car at the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Championship Final, which was held at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida, USA just prior to World AIDS Day on 1 December. The Sri Lankan champion also participated in “Test Today”, an event held in Colombo to mark the day and raise awareness around HIV testing.
Mr Malagamuwa said, “You can’t play the guessing game with HIV, but, people are hesitant to get tested due to stigma. Stigma begins with ignorance, so I displayed the red ribbon in an effort to empower awareness and urge the public to know the correct facts about HIV. Test today and know your status.”
As part of Test Today” UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNFPA teamed up with the Volkswagen Beetle Car rally, where dozens of beetle cars as well as red double decker London buses displayed campaign messages as they paraded around Colombo, Sri Lanka. The event ended with a concert with popular bands.
There were more than 3 000 people living with HIV in Sri Lanka and less than 500 new HIV infections in 2014. More than 600 people are accessing antiretroviral treatment. HIV testing coverage is low, particularly among key populations at higher risk of HIV. Studies find that only 14% of men who have sex with men and 34% of female sex workers know their status.
Mr Malagamuwa also supported UNAIDS Asia and the Pacific regional #CloseToOpen HIV testing and treatment campaign by providing a social media message.
He was born in Kurunegala and was inspired by the movie Silver Dream Racer to take up racing.
He became the first non-Japanese Asian to compete in Japan’s Formula Nippon and formed the the Dilango Racing Team. He has won 5 championships and gained almost 100 international podiums and more than 200 wins.