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Fighting AIDS on cricket fields of Pak

Indian and Pakistani players wore a red ribbon on their shirts today, symbolising cricket's commitment to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.
PTI | By Qaiser Mohammad Ali, Indo-Asian News Service, Islamabad
UPDATED ON APR 13, 2004 06:09 PM IST

Indian and Pakistani players wore a red ribbon on their shirts on the first day of the third Test on Tuesday, symbolising cricket's commitment to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a personal message to the players of the two teams saying that AIDS was a "common enemy that both India and Pakistan have to fight together".

"As role models you can encourage young people to protect themselves from HIV and your leaders to pay more attention to the epidemic," Annan said in his message distributed to the media.

He said: "By the time this Test finishes on April 17, nearly 4,000 people will have been infected with HIV virus in South Asia. For every over you bowl today, people will have been infected with the virus."

"As cricketers, you can win hearts of your people," he said.

"As role models you can encourage young people to protect themselves, and urge your leaders to pay more attention to the epidemic."

Annan told the players that by wearing the red ribbon, they had shown that they cared deeply about AIDS, about people living with HIV/AIDS and had helped remove stigma and discrimination - a major obstacle in the fight against the epidemic.

"It is a very positive step that on this historic series the players from India and Pakistan have united to raise awareness about AIDS, an issue of severe global concern," said International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani.

These awareness-raising activities are part of the Run Out AIDS campaign, launched by the ICC and UNAIDS in September last year.

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