In honor of World AIDS Day and as one of the first public initiatives of its kind, the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL) handed out more than 7,500 condoms and offered free HIV testing to fans attending their December 2 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. According to PostNewsGroup.com, the team was inspired by the many events that coincided with World AIDS Day and partnered with local health departments from San Francisco and Alameda as well as AIDS service organizations to offer free testing before the game.
All in all, the event was hosted by 65 volunteers from various health organizations, including nurses, community organizers and testers, who were there to provide an array of services, information and anything else the fans needed. Of the 30 tests that were performed that day, one person did test positive for HIV and received immediate care.
Providing this form of testing was a huge risk for the Oakland Raiders, as HIV/AIDS still carries a significant stigma, but advocates fighting the sexually transmitted disease believe that public initiatives like these can work wonders to spread public awareness.
"We're making progress," Osagie Enalule, president the of Oakland and Benin Sister City Association, told the news source. "But it's time for the human race to come together as a global community."
Raiders officials have remarked that the public response to the testing and condom giveaway was largely positive, so they may consider incorporating these public health campaigns into future events. One thing's for sure, while the Raiders are known for their ferocity on the gridiron, they have taken a step that no other NFL franchise has taken by putting the spotlight on the HIV/AID problem and doing something about it.