6.5, 4, 3,2,1, let's go for the 6 hours of relay swims at the Yvonne Godard swimming pool, this Saturday, December 9, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. When it was launched in 2015, the event had 210 participants, and was repeated every year except for the Covid years. In 2022, it had 550 participants. 2023 will be the seventh edition of the event organized by the sports association "Le cercle du marais" which brings together other associations involved in the fight against HIV around it.
What is the association's motto? "Let's all swim together." Everyone is welcomed, without discrimination, for these 6 hours of swimming with sports events such as the team relay, individual swimmers for 6 hours straight! A sporting challenge, yes! Highlighting the fight against HIV as well. Lighter activities in the small pool will be offered such as a collective buoy race, aquagym and more esoteric, a mermaid and newt initiation. From intense sports to amateurs, there is something for everyone to get together.
The example of the 6 hours of swimming against HIV is striking, "swim, celebrate, fight" for the key words of these 6 hours during which associations will intervene to offer free screening tests, to inform about PrEP, a preventive treatment to avoid HIV infection when taking risks, to remind people of the means of prevention.
The fight against AIDS and HIV is part of our DNA, it's one of our commitments, because we are not only a sports club but we also defend values.
Franck Horvais, vice-president of the Cercle du marais
For Franck Horvais, vice-president of the Cercle du Marais sports association, "the fight against AIDS and HIV is part of our DNA, it's one of our commitments, because we are not only a sports club but we also defend values." Last year, the event made it possible to donate 3000€ to partner associations. Olivier Giraudo, also vice-president, said: "Since its creation, our sports association has been a social activist against serophobia, the fear of people infected with HIV. Since the creation of the club in 1997, part of the club's membership fees has been used to open up social niches that allow people, especially those with HIV, to swim without the gaze of others." HIV is not transmitted in the pool, it is transferred by a carrier during unprotected sex or by exchanging contaminated blood. Nevertheless, despite this, serophobia persists and the sporting event makes it possible to fight against it.
7th edition of this HIV initiative. Swamp Circle
HIV-positive people have often been discriminated against and may continue to be discriminated against. The event will serve as an opportunity to recall or learn that triple therapy makes it possible to make an HIV-positive individual undetectable, i.e. that he or she has a viral load that is not observable in analysis, and that he or she can no longer transmit HIV during unprotected sex. "Get tested" is what you can hear and do during these 6 hours of swimming.
These pool slots allow a whole category of people to swim and free themselves from the gaze of the other. For Olivier Giraudo, "people suffering from physical ailments or various illnesses can find in our association a place to swim freely in good company". For Franck Horvais, the question of the other and its differences arises: "The association makes it possible to fight against prejudices". Other people are afraid of water, Franck Horvais adds that "overcoming this fear of water is also about showing them and telling them that we can overcome other fears".
Assistance to migrants
Other causes include helping migrants, who are more infected with HIV because they are far from awareness campaigns and the health care system. For Franck Horvais, "for people who have parallel social problems, the aim of one of the partner associations is to help them integrate".
The event and the association are supported by the town hall of the 20th arrondissement, this district of Paris will make it possible to reach "people who are perhaps less aware than in the middle of the marsh," says Olivier Giraudo. The idea is not to make a community event but rather an event that is open to everyone and that can spread the message of the fight against HIV as widely as possible."