stars join battle

Members of all the international cricket teams that will be in action over the next few days - Australia and New Zealand, India and England, and South Africa and Bangladesh - will be wearing red ribbons to show their support for World Aids Day on December 1.

Members of all the international cricket teams that will be in action over the next few days - Australia and New Zealand, India and England, and South Africa and Bangladesh - will be wearing red ribbons to show their support for World Aids Day on December 1.

For the past five years, the International Cricket Council has worked with UNAids and other global Aids awareness organisations to raise Aids awareness and reduce stigma around HIV-Aids.

South African cricket captain Graeme Smith said yesterday that the partnership was particularly relevant for South Africa.

"HIV-Aids is a major issue in our country, and we need to play our part in spreading the message about the need for education about the disease, and to try to reduce the stigma attached to HIV-Aids," he said. "We are seen as role models by many people and so we have the power to help spread the message.

"We come into contact with people who have been affected by Aids, particularly youngsters who have been born with it, and we want to show people that we care.

"We do a lot of group events connected to HIV-Aids awareness," he said in an international tele-conference.

"Most of the countries we play in, especially in the subcontinent, are affected by HIV-Aids, and I believe cricket is a sport that can take a lead in creating awareness of the need for education about the disease.

"In South Africa, we live with the problem on a daily basis - we read about it in the newspapers, hear about it on radio and television, and meet people affected by the disease. If we can do something to help, I think that is very important," said Smith.

"We want our country to grow and to be the best, and for that to happen, the problem of HIV-Aids has to be tackled. If we can create awareness by wearing a red ribbon and by talking to people, we are happy to do so."

South Africa take on Bangladesh in the second of two Test matches at SuperSport Park in Centurion from tomorrow. - Sapa

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