Thailand’s marathon promotes the right to health and zero discrimination in Asia and the Pacific
UNAIDS, the Ministry of Public Health, the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, youth networks, UN agencies, Embassies, private sector and other partners come together for the Bangkok 10 km International Run.
BANGKOK, 27 October 2018 —The Bangkok 10 km International Run, which is taking place tomorrow 28 October, is dedicated to promoting the right to health and tackling HIV related stigma and discrimination in Asia and the Pacific. The run is a partnership between the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the event company Amazing Field, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other partners.
Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. “Ending AIDS by 2030 can only happen if the right to health is placed at the center of global health. That means that health care must be available and accessible for everyone with no one left behind,” says Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Region Director for Asia and the Pacific.
While Asia and the Pacific has made immense progress in the HIV response, it is lagging behind global trends. New HIV infections are increasing in several countries in the region and there is an expanding epidemic among key populations and young people.
Leveraging the power of sport, the Bangkok Run has the objective to raise awareness about the right to health and the need to better tackle stigma and discrimination, to make sure that everybody, especially key populations and young people, can access HIV prevention and treatment services they urgently need. When people are not able to access quality health services, and when stigma and discrimination keep them away from existing services, HIV spreads.
“Sport is a great platform for educating the public and we believe that the private sector can play a big role in ensuring Thailand and Asia and the Pacific have healthy societies where everyone’s rights are respected,” comments Asst. Prof. Mallika Polanan, from Amazing Field.
Around 8 000 people are registered to participate in the run. With both 10 km and 4.5 km loops, the mini-marathon’s start and finish lines are in front of the United Nations Building in Bangkok. A percentage of the event’s proceeds will be donated to UNAIDS for youth-led initiatives aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination and preventing new HIV infections among young people.
“As we join together in this solidarity run, we publicly commit to zero discrimination. Sports contribute not only to achieving economic and social progress, but also breaking barriers and transcending differences through its inherent values of respect and tolerance”, explains Professor Dr. Varin Tansuphasiri, Deputy Secretary General, National Olympic Committee of Thailand.
Manik Prabhu and Babu Seenappa, two exceptional young marathoners born and living with HIV, will participate in the run representing Bangalore Schools Sports Foundation and the Champion in me initiative from Bangalore City in India. The runners have overcome difficult childhood to rise to the top of children’s athletics competing in prestigious international marathons across the world. Babu and Manik say: “We have not let HIV stand in our way of achieving our dreams. We are running not just for ourselves, but for all our friends and people who are living with HIV. With treatment, people living with HIV can live healthy and long lives and work productively. We are standing up for our rights to education, participation in sports, employment and quality healthcare.”
The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, the Asia Pacific Interagency Task Force on young key populations, ILO, UNDP, UNHCR, UNOPS, WFP and Stamford University, among other partners, are supporting the Bangkok 10 km International Run 2018.
“Thailand has made HIV one of its top health priorities. We are working for over 30 years to reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination. Although stigma still remains a challenge, we believe in Big challenge creates a great opportunity. Thailand realizes and gives priority to ensuring safe and supportive environments free from discrimination, as a precondition to reach the Fast Track targets towards ending AIDS,” says Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, Director-General, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.
UNAIDS Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific | Michela Polesana | +66 945 194092 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.