England support World Aids Day
England’s cricketers showed their support to the global fight against HIV and AIDS by wearing red ribbons to mark World AIDS Day 2005 on December 1.
Both the men’s team, competing against Pakistan in the third Test in Lahore, and the women’s team, who were playing in the second one-day international in India, made the gesture as a sign of solidarity with the millions of people around the world living with HIV and AIDS.
The support from England and India Women meant it was the first time the world’s leading male cricketers were joined in this initiative by their female counterparts.
Awareness-raising activities will also be undertaken on day one of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka on Friday and the first one-day international between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the third day’s play in Lahore, England captain Michael Vaughan said: “We will be wearing red ribbons to try and raise awareness of AIDS and help in the fight against the disease worldwide.”
His opposite number Inzamam-ul-Haq added: “To fight against AIDS is the responsibility of every human being. By wearing red ribbons on World AIDS Day, we hope to create awareness of this terrible disease amongst all people and help to support the cause to eliminate it.”
Edwards was pleased that the England Women had the opportunity to show their support for the first time.
“Women’s cricket has a pretty high profile in India so this will be a fantastic opportunity for us to help promote AIDS awareness here,” she said.
“We are delighted to be able to join our male counterparts in support of this important campaign.”
Australia captain Ricky Ponting echoed the comments of Inzamam and Vaughan ahead of the one-day series with neighbours New Zealand.
“The Australian cricket team supports the ICC’s campaign to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS which affects over 40 million people, many of them in cricket playing nations. Through awareness we hope many lives can be saved and a cure can be found,” said Ponting.
ICC president Ehsan Mani praised the players for helping cricket to ‘run out’ AIDS.
“The ICC is delighted that for the third year in a row the cricket world has united in this common cause,” said Mani.
“These players are idolised by millions of fans around the world and their support of the fight against HIV and AIDS helps raise awareness and reduce stigma in relation to the epidemic.
“The spirit of cricket demands that we support UNAIDS fight an epidemic that is prevalent in many of the leading cricket countries.”
Ben Plumley, Director of the UNAIDS Executive Office explained the pivotal role that cricket can play.
“International cricket has been a consistent and strong supporter in the fight against HIV and AIDS since it entered into a partnership with UNAIDS in 2003,” he said.
“The involvement of elite players in helping to raise awareness has had a positive impact in reducing some of the stigma that can still be attached to HIV and AIDS and we are very pleased that female cricketers have joined their male counterparts in this initiative for the first time.”