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The partnership's primary aim is to use cricket to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS in the cricket playing world. Other objectives are to incorporate UNAIDS education and training messages and materials in the ICC's own global Development Programme and encourage National Cricket Boards to support HIV/AIDS issues.
"The threat of HIV/AIDS in many of the communities in which cricket is played is acute," said Mr Mani. "I hope that through this partnership the ICC is able to play its part in helping UNAIDS turn the HIV/AIDS epidemic around."
The ICC will work with UNAIDS to integrate HIV/AIDS in activities around cricket tournaments, and link up UNAIDS with individual National Cricket Boards to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS in each country. Initiatives will vary from country to country depending on the issues identified between the Boards and the local UNAIDS staff.
In India, BCCI will work with UNAIDS in a wide range of awareness-raising activities. These include the distribution of information materials on HIV/AIDS to sports commentators and journalists, inviting an HIV-positive person to toss the coin before the start of the upcoming First Test against New Zealand on 8 October, and bringing people from some of the UNAIDS-supported projects to Indian team matches.
"Cricket is played in some of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. By working with the ICC and its member National Cricket Boards around the world, we hope to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and inform young people how to protect themselves from HIV," said Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director. "Given that cricket is a sport that has increasing popularity, particularly among young people, this new partnership will undoubtedly have a positive impact."
Of the estimated 42 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, over 12 million live in cricket playing countries. In India and South Africa alone, over 9 million people are living with HIV or AIDS. Despite the current low HIV prevalence in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the potential for HIV to spread is high if prevention efforts are not scaled up rapidly. In Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, current trends indicate a rise in sexually transmitted infections and unsafe sex, increasing the risk of HIV. In the West Indies, HIV is spreading rapidly.
For more information, please contact:
Akhila Sivadas, UNAIDS, Mumbai, mobile (+91 981) 0415066, Brendan McClements, ICC, London, tel (+44 207) 266 7913 or mobile (+ 44 7786) 194 974, or Dominique De Santis, UNAIDS, Geneva, tel (+41 22) 791 4509. For more information about UNAIDS, visit www.unaids.org.