European football clubs Real Madrid and Roma squared off tonight in a benefit match for United Nations efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
In his opening remarks before the friendly at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that last year 5 million people were infected with HIV, while AIDS killed 3 million more and left 14 million children orphans.
"Make no mistake: no one is safe from the effects of AIDS. This is a global threat," he said. "The United Nations is committed to doing all it can to fight it. If we all join forces, it is a fight we can win."
The Secretary-General paid tribute to the teams for dedicating a portion of the game's proceeds towards the UN's efforts against the epidemic and to the new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria set up to hope countries fight those diseases at home.
"The money raised is much needed," he said. "But just as important is that tonight's match will help make all of us here in Giants Stadium – and around the world – more aware of the need to fight HIV/AIDS together."