Young people told to ‘Live Up’ ahead of the ICC World Twenty20

Cricket continues its response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic with its latest campaign

West Indies player Stafanie Taylor: “I want my peers to have the knowledge to make important life choices so they protect themselves against HIV”

Soca artist Fay Ann Lyons: “Though we can’t cure AIDS we can cure discrimination”

If there are two things that unite the peoples and nationalities of the Caribbean more than anything else it could be music and cricket. So, well-known personalities from those two important cultural influences have joined together with the ICC and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership to launch a new HIV awareness campaign.

With the ICC World Twenty20 2010 in mind, the ‘Live Up’ public service announcement is about to be aired by Caribbean broadcasters  committed to making HIV a business priority as part of the Global Media AIDS Initiative. This celebration of cricket will take place from 30 April to 16 May across four venues in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts and St Lucia.

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 will deliver messaging on HIV and AIDS in a 30-second advert to be shown across the region in the coming months.

The public service announcement also features female West Indies cricketer Stafanie Taylor, who is a new Think Wise ambassador for the ICC’s global HIV and AIDS partnership with UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative, which has been running since 2003.

Taylor (18) becomes the sixth Think Wise ambassador joining Nathan Bracken (Australia), Isa Guha (England), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Virender Sehwag (India) and Graeme Smith (South Africa). She is regarded as one of the brightest talents in women’s international cricket, having won the Jamaica Cricketer of the Year in 2009, and is currently ranked as the fifth leading all-rounder in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Player Rankings.

She said: “HIV is an important issue for young people in the Caribbean and I am honoured to have the opportunity to use my role as a player for the West Indies to encourage my peers to have the knowledge to make important life choices and protect themselves against HIV.”

The Caribbean’s leading musicians were also delighted to play their role in delivering specific messages targeted at young people within the regions. Soca queen Fay Ann Lyons said: “Though we can’t cure AIDS we can cure discrimination. Being a part of this campaign to me means that I am part of that cure.”

Dancehall reggae sing-jay Mr Vegas added: “HIV is a serious disease so I would like to advise everyone to protect themselves and get tested for a healthier world.”

The new public service announcement is now being broadcast across the Caribbean by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, which unites 92 top broadcasters across 24 countries within the region. It promotes both the ‘Live Up’ initiative, which aims to inspire individual action to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and the Think Wise partnership.

The promo will also be shown within the four venues for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 when the event begins on 30 April, as part of the ICC’s social responsibility activities during the event. At the tournament, players competing in the event will visit community projects to raise awareness of HIV, while all teams competing in the semi-finals and final of the tournament will wear red ribbons on their shirts as a show of support for people living with HIV.

Allyson Leacock, executive director of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership and chairwoman of the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign, added: “The engagement of our entertainment and sports personalities as influential messengers for targeted audiences is a compelling approach that we have found to be effective in our Live Up campaign.

“Our partnership with the ICC is an exciting initiative as the Think Wise objectives align so well with Live Up as we, alongside UNAIDS and UNICEF, seek to reduce stigma and discrimination and share messages of hope and possibility to help change behaviour in an age of AIDS.

“We salute the artistes for so willingly supporting this initiative and look forward to an ongoing partnership to reach diverse audiences.”