Crickters to show solidarity on World Aids Day

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Dubai, Nov 29 (UNI) Leading crickters including Indian captain Anil Kumble will show their support for people living with HIV when they wear red ribbons in international matches taking place on first and second December.

Players taking part in the India-Pakistan, Sri Lanka-England, South Africa-New Zealand and Zimbabwe-West Indies games, as well as those taking part in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2, will wear the ribbons to raise awareness and reduce stigma about the disease.

India captain Anil Kumble said: ''India-Pakistan is one of the most exciting and important matches in world cricket. If we can use this high profile game to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, then hopefully we can make a difference in reducing the prevalence of the disease across the globe.'' The ICC has been working closely with UNAIDS to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in cricket playing countries and has undertaken a wide range of activities since 2003 to raise awareness and reduce stigma around people living with HIV/AIDS.

This partnership was joined by the UNICEF in 2006 to back the 'Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS' campaign and is also supported by the Global Media AIDS initiative.

South African captain Graeme Smith said: ''World AIDS Day is an opportunity for everybody to show their support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

''As a South African in a high profile position, I feel that it is important to support the International Cricket Council's partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF and use the reach and popularity of cricket to deliver important messages that hopefully will play a role in reducing AIDS not just in my own country but across the world as well,'' he added.

Echoing the same thought, England's Test captain Michael Vaughan added: ''International sportsmen are lucky to be in a position where we can deliver important messages on social causes such as HIV/AIDS to millions of people.

''By wearing red ribbons on World AIDS Day in our match against Sri Lanka, we hope to play an important role in showing support for people living with HIV/AIDS.'' Activities will also be delivered by the ICC Development Program, including a series of coaching and awareness activities at the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia, a HIV/AIDS awareness cricket match in Gambia and a joint AIDS awareness promotion in a match between the Uganda and Rwanda women's teams.

The support for the World Aids Day is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at using the popularity of cricket to deliver messages on HIV/AIDS.

During the ICC World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 2007, players from competing teams visited local community projects to illustrate the cricketing world's support for people living with HIV and recorded Public Service Announcements that were shown by broadcasters around the world.

UNI

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