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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sehwag, Sangakkara star in ICC's HIV/AIDS campaign

Sehwag, Sangakkara star in ICC's HIV/AIDS campaign

January 25, 2011 16:51 IST

They may be rivals on the field of play, but India opener Virender Sehwag and Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara have joined together to star in a new 'Think Wise campaign' launched by the ICC on Tuesday, educating people about HIV/AIDS and how to avoid contracting the disease.

The players feature in a public service announcement, encouraging young people to 'get the facts, protect yourself', as part of the ICC's Think Wise partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF promoting HIV prevention, the game's world body said in a release.

The campaign has been launched as part of next month's cricket World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"The ICC Cricket World Cup provides an opportunity to use our profile as cricketers to deliver important social messages to the hundreds of millions of supporters who will be watching the tournament across the world," said Sehwag.

Kumar Sangakkara"I hope this public service announcement can encourage young people to get the facts and protect themselves from HIV. While my main focus for this tournament is on helping India win the World Cup, I hope that a legacy of the event will be that more young people feel comfortable talking about their relationships and understand how to protect themselves against HIV," added the Indian opener.

The campaign will encourage young people to be informed, take appropriate action to prevent HIV infection and stand together against the stigma and discrimination often facing people living with HIV.

The colourful promos, that are 30 and 45 seconds in duration, are set to a lively theme tune of "let's talk" and aim to encourage young people across the globe to discuss HIV prevention.

As part of the programme, Sangakkara encourages fans to "wait, stick to one partner, or use a condom", before Sehwag calls on young adults to "get the facts, protect yourself against HIV".

"As a Think Wise champion and cricketer, I want to help educate young people on how to protect themselves from HIV. It is important that young people around the world have access to the right information to help them make informed decisions and break down stigma and discrimination.

"Through this public service announcement, I want to help stop the spread of HIV and encourage young people to get the facts, talk openly, and protect themselves from HIV," said Sangakkara.

Sehwag and Sangakkara, who are both Think Wise champions, have been active supporters of the partnership since it was formed in 2003, visiting projects at ICC events and promoting global HIV prevention and stigma reduction messages.

Other active supporters in the partnership include Graeme Smith (South Africa), Shakib-Al-Hasan (Bangladesh) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies).

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