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Miss Universe Contestants Enter Condom Olympics to Tackle HIV
Date:8/21/2009

Global health organization PSI helps contestants spread HIV prevention messages throughout the world

NASSAU, Bahamas, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Miss Universe contestants continued preparations for Sunday night's pageant by competing today in the Condom Olympics - tossing water-filled condoms to test their strength and playing "Wild Fire Infection" games that demonstrate the serious side of HIV infection. The games are part of an HIV peer education workshop designed by PSI (Population Services International), a global health organization and partner of the Miss Universe Organization. The event was aimed at inspiring contestants to use their celebrity to spread positive messages about HIV prevention around the world.

After the pageant, the winning contestant will have the opportunity to become an Ambassador of PSI's HIV prevention and education program YouthAIDS, and her colleagues will also be able to return home as YouthAIDS Ambassadors in their own countries. Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza, used her platform to champion the cause among women, who continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease. In addition to attending star-packed fundraising events, she also met directly with women most affected by the disease when she traveled to Nicaragua and El Salvador to launch national HIV prevention campaigns.

Salorne McDonald, a Behavior Change Communications Manager from PSI/Caribbean Regional, led the training along with his colleague Ava Rampersad.

"Millions of young girls and women across the world look up to Miss Universe and admire the Miss Universe contestants," said Ms. Rampersad. "Now, thanks to today's event, these women will be able to continue being leaders in their communities and around the world, educating young women on HIV prevention and helping them live longer, healthier lives."

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