'Batting Out' the Stigma in Kolkata: HIV/AIDS Patients Turn Sporty!

by Tanya Thomas on Aug 13 2008 9:14 AM

The Thalassaemia and AIDS Prevention Society of Kolkata is organizing the Red Ribbon Cup for HIV and Thalassaemia affected people. The “sportive’ undertaking aims at dealing with the stigma attached to these grave diseases. The participants took part in a cricket practice session ahead of the tournament.
More than 15 HIV patients have decided to fight their own battle by ’batting out’ the discrimination in the society and reduce the attached stigma.

Sporting T-shirts with ’AIDS’ quotations and messages written on them, the members are all set to spread awareness about the commonly dreaded disease.

"We want to tell the people that even after being infected by HIV, we are playing. We want to tell them that the disease doesn’t spread through touching others. We want to tell people on how the infection spreads and how it doesn’t," said Rajendra Ray, a HIV positive player.

Sailen Bose, who is training the participants for the tournament said that forming the cricket team of HIV infected people and organizing the event across the state is a challenge in itself.

"We want to remove the stigma from the minds of the people, it is important. And for that the game is one of the best mediums," said Bose.

The cricket tournament would start on August 15 to coincide with the Independence Day and would go on till September 21 covering around seven districts of West Bengal

According to the latest figures, India has 2.47 million HIV cases but health workers say the number is rising rapidly and spreading to new population groups.


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