Children and HIV and AIDS

Cricket stars back global AIDS campaign

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
Still frame from a new public service announcement featuring South African captain Graeme Smith, produced for the ICC Twenty 20 tournament.

By Dan Thomas

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 5 September 2007 – The world’s top cricket stars will support the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign at the ICC World Twenty 20 tournament in South Africa from 11-24 September.

Building on a successful partnership at the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies earlier this year, this global initiative sees the International Cricket Council (ICC), UNAIDS and UNICEF teaming up again to highlight the situation of children and young people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith and players Makhaya Ntini and AB de Villiers are among the host-nation cricket heroes who have put their weight behind the AIDS campaign. Other cricket icons involved are Australian batsman Michael Hussey, Sri Lankan wicket-keeper and batsman Kumar Sangakkara and Indian all rounder Yuvraj Singh.

Raising awareness

Two new public service announcements – produced by UNICEF for broadcast throughout the competition – feature five top cricketers, including Mr. Smith, talking about the impact of HIV and AIDS on children. The African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS will broadcast the campaign’s messages in more than 100 countries.

Throughout the tournament, cricket stars will draw the world’s attention to the impact of AIDS on the lives of the young people at the matches and beyond. Reports on their activities will appear on a special cricket partnership website, www.uniteforchildren.org/cricket

UNICEF and Lovelife, a South African organization that aims to reduce HIV infection, have organized opportunities for the players to meet children and young people affected by HIV and AIDS in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.  UNAIDS and Lovelife have also provided education sessions for more than 500 volunteers to serve as health trainers at the tournament events.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
Still frame from a new PSA featuring Australia’s Ricky Ponting, produced for the ICC Twenty 20 tournament.

Four key areas

Cricket is a popular sport in many of the countries that are most affected by AIDS, including India and South Africa. Together, these two countries are home to around 11 million of the 40 million people estimated to be living with HIV.

The Unite for Children, Unite against Aids campaign, started by UNICEF and UNAIDS in 2005, promotes four key areas: prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; increased access to antiretroviral therapy for children and young people who need treatment; education programmes to help prevent HIV transmission; and increased support for children who are orphaned and left vulnerable by AIDS.

“I have been involved in a few projects to do with Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS in different parts of the world where we have toured and it has been a very worthwhile thing to do.” said Mr. de Villiers. “I feel a real calling to help wherever I can.”

Importance of AIDS education

Mr. Sangakkara added: “I hope people will listen to cricketers. I hope that our support helps and that it brings a different perspective to building interest in these issues and raising awareness.”

Mr. Singh noted: “Through the ICC working with UNAIDS and UNICEF, we can deliver important messages to people all over the world.”

And for his part, Mr. Hussey recalled: “When I visited an education project in the Caribbean during the ICC Cricket World Cup, I saw for myself the importance of educating young people on HIV and AIDS.

“UNICEF and UNAIDS play a vital role in addressing this epidemic,” he continued. “And by supporting this partnership, by meeting young people and raising awareness of HIV and AIDS, I hope I can personally play a part in reducing discrimination.”

Every minute of every day, AIDS costs the world another child’s life. It’s time for us all to Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS. Donate now!


 

 

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Watch the two new public service announcements with five top cricket stars talking about the impact of HIV and AIDS on children and young people.
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