West Indies cricketers support UNAIDS vision of eliminating new HIV infections among childrenListen /
The West Indies Cricket Team has expressed solidarity with the UNAIDS vision of zero new HIV infections among children. The coaching clinic during which the team hosted a group of local students at the Kensington Oval stadium in Bridgetown, Barbados, was held as part of the Think Wise Campaign, a global partnership that uses the power and reach of cricket to address key HIV-related issues.
West Indies Captain Darren Sammy, who endorsed the call for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and ensuring access to life-saving treatment for HIV-positive women said “We have the medicines, we have the knowledge. There is no need for any Caribbean child to be born with HIV," adding "There is no need to treat anyone any differently because of their HIV status.”
The Think Wise Campaign—a partnership between UNAIDS, UNICEF, the International Cricket Council and the Global Media AIDS Initiative—places particular emphasis on HIV prevention as well as on the education and empowerment of children. Engaging young people in the HIV response was the focus of the coaching session in Bridgetown, which included a discussion around HIV.
Director of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team Dr Ernest Massiah said “Through this event, the children have loved meeting their favourite players and learning some new skills. At the same time, they have gained awareness about HIV and the importance of treating all people with equal respect and compassion." And he added. "Like the cricketers, these children can be agents of change in their families, communities and schools.”
A regional Elimination Initiative—led by the Pan American Health Organization—aims to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2015. The Eastern Caribbean, with its smaller disease burden, is expected to reach the target far sooner.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.
[This story adapted from UNAIDS website]