Health authorities in cricket crazy India are using the popularity of the game to try to persuade people to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.
The National AIDS Control Organization, the state-run agency that runs India's HIV prevention program, is using a series of television and newspaper advertisements to coax people into avoiding unsafe sex, The Asian Age said.
In one television ad, an electronic screen flashes, "Not Out," much like verdicts given by umpires in a cricket match. An accompanying caption flashes: "HIV/AIDS can run you out. Cut the risk with condoms."
"The advertisements are linked to cricket so that the anti-AIDS messages can ride on cricket's popularity and get across to the masses," Dr. S. Y. Quraishi, who heads the AIDS control group, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
With 5.13 million cases, India has the second largest number of people infected with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - after South Africa. Many fear ignorance and the stigma attached to the disease could push India into the top slot in the next few years, the AP reports.