International cricket star speaks out on HIV stigma and discrimination

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Kumar took time out of his busy UK tour schedule, ahead of the Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Lord’s this Friday, to visit HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust’s (THT) headquarters to meet service users from HIV organisations THT, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Positively UK, African Health Policy Network, Body & Soul, HIV Sport, YMCA Positive Health and the Bloomsbury Clinic

Kumar is a Champion for the Think Wise campaign, a partnership between the International Cricket Council, UNAIDS and UNICEF, that since 2003 has aimed to raise awareness of HIV and help eliminate discrimination towards people living with HIV. This has been achieved through a series of initiatives including public service announcements, player community visits, and leading stars wearing red ribbons on their shirts in key international matches as a show of support for people living with HIV.

Kumar Sangakkara said: “As a Think Wise champion and cricketer, I want to help educate 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.”

Sir Nick Partridge, Terrence Higgins Trust’s Chief Executive said: “We’re thrilled Kumar is using his sporting fame to support people living with HIV and raise greater awareness of it as a global issue in need of attention. We know that people living with HIV do continue to experience stigma and discrimination and this is something which can only be prevented with better education about the condition.”

There are an estimated 86,500 people living with HIV in the UK, with over a quarter of these undiagnosed, unaware that they are infected. There is a high prevalence of HIV in parts of the globe where cricket is popular, with almost a third of the world’s population living with HIV coming from Test playing countries.
To find out more information about HIV in the UK visit www.myhiv.org.uk.

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