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Liverpool stars join Aids fight
Liverpool players have shown their support for World Aids Day and helped raise awareness of the fight against HIV.
The club's Premier League heroes, including Steven Gerrard, lined up for a photograph in the formation of a red ribbon in advance of World Aids Day on Saturday. The world's largest red ribbon will be unveiled on the pitch at Anfield during Saturday's game against Southampton.
The 49-metre ribbon will be rolled out by staff from sponsors Standard Chartered bank and the HIV and Aids charity Avert during half-time in the Premier League match.
Liverpool FC manager director Ian Ayre said: "Living with HIV is an important cause, and one which the club is proud to support. When an individual wears a red ribbon they are demonstrating that they have joined the global fight against HIV so we are delighted to be able to use the Anfield pitch to display the ribbon and raise awareness for HIV and Aids."
Avert is providing the ribbon on behalf of renowned HIV expert Dr Surya Rao, who created it in India to raise awareness.
"Liverpool is scheduled to play Southampton on World Aids Day, making it the perfect opportunity to display the red ribbon and reinforce our commitment to the global fight against HIV," said Mark Devadason, group head of sustainability and regions at Standard Chartered.
"Our thanks go out to both Liverpool and Avert who have made this possible and enabled us to show our solidarity with those living with HIV and commemorate those who have died from the illness."
Around 7,000 people worldwide are infected with HIV each day, Standard Chartered said. The bank hopes Liverpool FC's involvement will also help draw attention to the fact that in 2011 there were 939 people living with HIV in Merseyside, representing a 220% increase over the previous 10 years.
Tommy McIlravey, chief executive of Liverpool-based HIV support service Sahir House, said "It's fantastic news that LFC are making this statement to the world. People living with HIV face not only a difficult condition with complex medication but also face stigma and discrimination.
"By making this statement the players and staff at LFC are doing their bit to challenge stigma and save lives."