As part of international cricket's commitment to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, players at the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup Bangladesh 2004 will be wearing red ribbons as a mark of solidarity with those living with HIV/AIDS
As part of international cricket's commitment to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, players at the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup Bangladesh 2004 will be wearing red ribbons as a mark of solidarity with those living with HIV/AIDS.
In all of the tournament's televised matches - starting with the match between India and Scotland tomorrow - players will wear red ribbons.
The aim of the initiative is to raise the level of awareness about the impact of the epidemic among the general public, especially the young, as well as with leaders and opinion-makers in cricket-playing countries.
Nearly half the young people in the world have not even heard of HIV/AIDS. By raising awareness, the silence is broken and stigma and discrimination reduced. This will hopefully encourage young people to learn about HIV/AIDS and protect themselves.
This is part of a joint campaign between the International Cricket Council and the Joint United Nations AIDS Programme (UNAIDS) to `Run Out AIDS' that was launched in September 2003.
In the time it takes to play a One Day International match, 6000 young people will become infected with HIV. Over the course of a Test match, 30,000 young boys and girls across the world will become infected with HIV.
More than 20 million people have already died since the first clinical evidence of the disease was reported in 1981.
The realities of today's global epidemic are graver than even the worst-case predictions of 10 years ago. AIDS killed more than three million people in 2003 and an estimated five million more became infected -- bringing to some 40 million the number currently living with HIV/AIDS.
Of these, nearly 12.5 million live in countries that played in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003. India and South Africa alone have nearly nine million people infected with HIV.
In the West Indies, HIV is spreading rapidly and despite current low levels of infection in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the potential for the spread of HIV is high.
In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, current trends indicate a rise in sexually transmitted infections and in unsafe sex practices, indicating the need for renewed prevention efforts.
ICC President Ehsan Mani and ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed have both played a prominent role since the partnership was launched, visiting HIV/AIDS projects in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Jamaica and raising world attention on the issue.
"The threat of HIV/AIDS in many of the countries in which cricket is played is acute and it is in keeping with the spirit of cricket that the ICC exercises this social responsibility," said Mr Mani.
Since the launch of the partnership, many cricket teams and players have offered their support. The throwing of the toss by a HIV Positive person at the start of New Zealand's first Test in India in October 2003 was hailed as a positive leap in India's prevention efforts and a vital step in reducing stigma.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2003, the national cricket teams of Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, England, Zimbabwe and the West Indies wore red ribbons during their matches.
The UNAIDS - ICC partnership to `Run Out AIDS' is the first major partnership between UNAIDS and an international sports body.
ICC U/19 CWC Media Contact:
ICC Event Media Manager
In Bangladesh: 01750 17668
International: +44 (0) 7946 545 090