Mumbai, Apr 20 (UNI) Avahan, the India initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand as its HIV-AIDS ambassador in India.
Anand, in his new role, would raise awareness of the disease in the country, an official release today said.
''As a youth icon and celebrated sports figure, Anand's desire to raise the visibility of India's HIV disease is a welcomed step in reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with it,'' it said.
Aside from targeting the general public, Anand would focus on mobilising the much-needed engagement by business and industry and NRIs.
A native of Tamil Nadu, Anand also plans to engage in on the ground activities there, which is also one of the states hit hardest by HIV.
''It is imperative for all sectors of the society to join hands and work together to contain the disease,'' said Anand adding ''We hope to create a significant understanding and compassion through our campaign as we concentrate on removing the stigma attached to the disease and are able to bring a message of urgency and promise to the people of India.'' ''Societal leaders have a critical role to play in HIV/AIDS programmes and prevention and Anand will prove to be a powerful advocate in our collective efforts to raise awareness of the disease and consequently combat the threat it poses to India's future,'' observed Ashok Alexander, Director, Avahan.
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