Swim For Life is an annual event hosted by the BSG- Brussels Gay Sports Swim Team takes place the first Sunday of December every year to raise money for HIV/AIDS prevention and health programs. Every year the “projects” or organizations are selected, in which swimmers who register for the event spend the months leading up to World AIDS Day soliciting donations and encouraging people to participate.
The organizations selected for this year’s Swim For Life include
- The Planned Parenthood Federation (Fédération Laïque de Centres de Planning Familial) – Advocates to make family planning services more gay and non-binary friendly.
- SENSOA – Educates and builds awareness about the HIV Virus and Medication.
- AIDE INFO SIDA – Provides free, anonymous, walk in HIV testing services.
- ALIAS – Provides extramural mobile rapid screening tests in collaboration with sex worker communities.
- GO TO GYNECO! – Builds relationships with WSW (Women who have Sex with other Women) and Gynocologists for sexual health.
- FXB – Village Mbare (Rwanda – Muhanga) – Strengthens the social, economic and personal health of 100 families who have been affected by HIV in Rwanda to help them escape extreme poverty and care for their children.
On December 2nd, the marathon swim will take place where the participants will bring in their donation forms and take to the pool in the marathon swim based on the amount of money they raised. The event has been held annually since 1996 and has raised over 400,000 Euros for HIV/AIDS organizations.
World AIDS Day is one of 8 official public health campaigns organized by the World Health Organization. It is an international day, celebrated on December 1st, dedicated to raising education and awareness about HIV/AIDS and the pandemic caused by the spread of HIV. It honors and mourns those who have been lost to the disease while advocating for prevention and treatment methods. AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide. It is estimated that 36.7 million are living with HIV which makes it one of the biggest and most important global health issues in recorded history.
By Dirk Smith