England and South Africa cricket stars took time out from the ICC Champions Trophy to get tested for HIV.
Players from the South Africa team – JP Duminy, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien and assistant coach Russell Domingo – also met people living with HIV in Wales to learn about the stigma they experience in everyday life.
While England players James Tredwell, Ravi Bopara and Jos Buttler visited gay HIV charities Terrence Higgins Trust and The Food Chain in London on Tuesday (12 June)
Tredwell took his HIV test in London while Duminy and Miller did theirs in Cardiff.
Miller, 24, said: ‘I took the rapid HIV test today to help raise awareness and also learn more for myself about my status.
‘As group we spoke a lot and learnt about what to do and what not to do and ultimately to be loving and supporting to persons living with HIV.
‘I was very surprised to hear how much persons living with HIV in Wales are suffering with stigma, we in South Africa have a similar issue but it is improving. Today has been a real eye-opener and reality check for all of us.’
Duminy said after his rapid HIV test: ‘I think it’s important for all of us to know our status, going forward you might meet different people in your life that you are sexually active with and I think it’s important for them to know their status as well. I think it does put your mind at ease if you do take the test, so I definitely recommend it.
‘I guess us being here is creating some awareness around the stigma of HIV and AIDS is not that bad. You’re not, for example, going to get the virus by swimming in a pool next to someone, understanding that is really important.’
The England cricketers saw The Food Chain kitchen where meals are prepared every week by volunteers for people living with HIV in London who are struggling to access the food they need to stay well.
They were treated to some healthy snacks and learned more about the importance of good nutrition for HIV positive from the charity who also provide dietetic advice, recipes and cookery classes.
Tredwell said post his HIV Test: ‘I felt it was important to take the rapid HIV test on today’s visit to show people it’s an easily accessible test and the support and services are available in the UK and globally whether you’re HIV positive or not.’
Teammate Buttler added: ‘I found today’s visit a real eye-opener. To learn about all the support that is available to persons living with HIV in the UK and also more about HIV and AIDS in general was very interesting for me.
‘I particularly enjoyed our visit to The Food Chain where they spoke about the importance of good meals to work alongside the medications that persons living with HIV have to take. We as cricketers have to eat well to be happy and healthy and perform the best we can and I can draw parallels with the guys here as they also need to do that to continue to lead and happy and healthy day-to-day life.’
This year will be the last time the one day international cricket tournament, the ICC Champions Trophy, will be held and it is being hosted by Britain. Its place in the calendar will eventually be taken by a new ICC World Test Championship.