West Indies cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan new champion for HIV advocacy
27 April 2010
In conjunction with the International Cricket Council (ICC), West Indies cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan was unveiled as a new Think Wise Champion on 26 April as part of a global cricket partnership to raise awareness of HIV.
He joins high profile cricketers Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara and Virender Sehwag, as well as West Indies colleague Stafanie Taylor, in becoming a Champion for the ICC’s partnership with UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative.
The global partners are also working with the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS as part of the ‘Live UP’ campaign to coincide with the cricket tournament ICC World Twenty20 2010, which takes place from 30 April-16 May. This initiative encourages young people in the region to take positive action by informing themselves about the facts about HIV, getting tested and protecting themselves.
The issue of HIV is an important one for young people in the Caribbean and hopefully I can use my profile as an international cricketer to have a positive impact on people’s behavior within the region.
West Indies Cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan
Sarwan (29) is one of the leading batsmen in the West Indies team, having made 83 Test and 154 ODI appearances to date. In that time, he has scored 15 Test centuries and four ODI hundreds to date.
“The issue of HIV is an important one for young people in the Caribbean and hopefully I can use my profile as an international cricketer to have a positive impact on people’s behavior within the region,” said Ramnaresh Sarwan.
“It is important young people are aware of resources that exist for them, such as the Live UP website, www.iliveup.com where they can find out about HIV, learn the importance of protection, and understand how to talk about these issues to their partner and friends.
“By using this event to raise awareness of HIV and remind cricket supporters not to discriminate against people with the disease, hopefully we can play our role in educating young people.”
A series of awareness activities will take place during the course of the ICC World Twenty20 2010 including community interactions between leading players and local community groups in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts and St Lucia. The players will wear red ribbons as a show of support for people living with HIV in the semi-finals and final and public service announcements will be played on the big screen at matches.
This public service announcement, which features leading Caribbean celebrities and Stafanie Taylor is part of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership’s ‘Live UP’ campaign that is being aired by 95 top broadcast media houses across 24 countries in the Caribbean.
Top Caribbean musical artists Alison Hinds, Bunji Garlin, Claudette Peters, Fay Ann Lyons and Mr Vegas, as well as Kim Collins, the St Kitts sprinter who won 100m gold at 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris, are among those who deliver a message about HIV in a 30-second advert which has been shown across the Caribbean since last month.
The partnership between UNAIDS and ICC began in September 2003 when they first teamed up to bring messages of HIV prevention to young people across cricket playing nations. In 2006 UNICEF also joined the partnership which now also supports the “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS” campaign.