Victoria Lopyreva has been appointed as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador, tasked with highlighting HIV awareness and promoting zero discrimination during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the Russian Federation. The announcement was made by UNAIDS in Moscow, Russian Federation, on the eve of World AIDS Day and the final draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the State Kremlin Palace.
“In her new capacity as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador, Victoria Lopyreva will highlight HIV awareness and prevention during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. She will encourage millions of people coming to the World Cup to protect themselves from HIV and champion zero discrimination on the basis of race, nationality or HIV status,” said Vinay P. Saldanha, Director for the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“It is my pleasure to accept the role as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” said Ms Lopyreva. “Football is a unique global phenomenon, uniting players, teams and fans from different countries, nationalities and ages. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is a unique opportunity to promote another amazing goal—to unite a winning team to end the AIDS epidemic and reach zero discrimination.”
“I appreciate and value every day Victoria Lopyreva’s commitment as FIFA World Cup 2018 Ambassador in Russia. Her passion, her dedication and her energy will definitely help raise awareness on HIV and AIDS in and outside Russia. Victoria’s contribution to fighting all forms of discrimination in and off the pitch is something that FIFA can be proud of and I wish her full success in her additional role as UNAIDS Special Ambassador in Russia,” said Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General.
Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses. In 2016, around 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV, a 39% decrease from the 3 million who became newly infected at the peak of the epidemic in the late 1990s. In eastern Europe and central Asia, new HIV infections have risen by 60% since 2010 and AIDS-related deaths by 27%. According to government data, more than 900 000 people are currently living with HIV in the Russian Federation.
Ms Lopyreva was crowned Miss Russia in 2003 and since October 2015 has been an official Ambassador of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Ms Lopyreva also served as an Ambassador for the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students 2017, held in Sochi, Russian Federation, and works as a television presenter, event host, motivational speaker and model.