New Delhi: Once ostracised and stigmatized, eleven HIV-affected people rubbed shoulders with football teams from various embassies in the The Football4Hope - "United Cup 2012" here to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS.
The three-day sports event which began Friday has 14 teams, United Nations, Team India and Hope Team, teams from Embassies of Denmark, China, Spain, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Netherlands and Israel, and High Commission of Republic of Botswana and Tanzania.
The Hope Team, comprising HIV affected people, played a match against the High Commission of Republic of Botswana on Friday.
"We want to spread awareness about this disease. It is just a tiny virus nothing else. Living with HIV is not a death sentence. Like others, people living with HIV need security and family," captain of the Hope Team Loongangte, who calls himself as "45-years-old young," told IANS.
An initiative of capital-based non-government organisations, "The Touch of Hope Foundation" and The New Delhi United Football Club, Football4Hope is about spreading awareness about the disease.
Moigangte, 24, a member of the team, said his team wants to show that they can overcome HIV and lead a normal life.
The Annual United Cup in 2010 and 2011 were successful events, which brought joy, fun and the spirit of good will among the various missions and embassies of various countries in India," said Haroon James, Co-Founder Football4Hope.
The 2011 United Cup brought together representatives from 16 embassies and high commissions.
The proceeds from the event will be utilised to help establish a Center of Hope in New Delhi where care services would be delivered by dedicated professionals.