rss twitter facebook mobile

No End To United’s Skills… Now Stopping AIDs

Last year, the number of men practising safe and getting tested increased dramatically in Sierra Leone, a country that had seen a 75% increase in all new HIV infections since 2002. The reason? A nationwide campaign across TV, radio and billboards. It was doctors telling men to put a condom on, it wasn’t politicians fighting the stigma of the virus, but three footballers.

Manchester United players in Hangzhou, China, are continuing on with the work of Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra on behalf of Unicef.

Dimitar Berbatov, who is a Unicef ambassador and supports five care homes in his native Bulgaria, has spoken of the positive responsibility that comes with being a famous footballer.

“Listen,” he said. “If David Beckham says something about HIV, then people will remember it. People do listen to the famous and maybe that is a little bit strange. When I was a boy I listened to my parents because what better example can you get than your parents? But many of these kids don’t have parents; they need someone else. But really, I don’t think you should need to talk to a famous person before you can address the problems you face. You need to understand the problems before they hit you. We come here for a reason, that is to train and play football, but there is also this, and I would say it is equally important and when I look back on my life it might be more important.”

Michael Carrick has also been talking to teenagers about the stigma of Aids as part of the Unicef project.

“It is weird,” he said. “You see kids who maybe haven’t got long to live, they meet you and they are happy for a while. It is hard for me to get my head round that. Why should they listen to me? I find that so strange.”

Last April, Carrick’s wife Lisa gave birth to their baby Louise, which has had a big impact on how he sees projects like this.

“I am being educated,” he added. “I have been to hospices and orphanages and if not for football, then I would never have done. It makes a massive difference now that I have a child of my own. I went to South Africa last year. It was my first tour and when I got home I thought that having a child changes a lot. I come here, I see these children and what they are going through and look at it in a completely different light. It puts into perspective how lucky I am, how lucky my little girl is. She has things, she has her health. But it feels surreal being here, trying to help but you just keep thinking…”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    another bit of class from the club that goes that one extra step
    also another reason for manchester united condoms

  2. Shurik says:

    They have done great job. They are true humans

  3. Macheda is GOD says:

    lol ghtt.

  4. Kings says:

    A class apart.

  5. United Rant says:

    Perhaps there should also be condom drops in the third world – Merseyside – in order to stop the spread of disease … like supporting Liverpool.

  6. Abhay_RedDeviltillDeath says:

    You are on song tonite mate….all of your posts on the various topics…absolutely brilliant…. keep’em coming LOL

  7. MichaelK says:

    United condoms, eh? Insted of sizes it would be a “Tošić”, “Carrick” and a “van der Sar”? :P

    Determined by height! Not to give you guys any funny ideas!

  8. aig alex is god says:

    thats brilliant.thats why we are so in asia the no of united fans is more than al other clubs together.these things add to that.

  9. waynesworld says:

    Class, our club goes about doing campaigns like this while Shitty have their poster campaigns… Fergie spot on once again about that lot.

    Berba looking very mean and moody in that photo!

  10. aliyu says:

    dis is enuf reason 4 d world 2 see dat footballis not on abt d round leda game is also abt touching d lifes of millions positively.

  11. willierednut says:

    Spreading the gospel yet again.


    @ghtt – ManUtd Condoms ? It could make fucking the missus extra special.
    Perhaps they could do some in the away colours too for when I cheat on her. Haha !

  13. Red Dave says:

    @united rant

    ouch, that was brutal
    the only thing liverpool are an example of is violence and stupidity


    I could do with some Newcastle condoms for doing her up the arse. They would be perfect for when really in the shit.

  15. Muggaz says:

    Barcelona’s charity work with Unicef and the fact they have it plastered on their shirt is one of the reasons I really admire the club, and don’t begrudge them for doing one on us in May.

    I think it’s great that footballers do this kind of thing – at the end of the day, they don’t have to, and we know it’s not exactly the most taxing aspect of their day job, making appearances and saying a few words – but they should be commended for using their positions of influence for the greater good.

    Top form lads.

  16. sanj says:

    where is manutdchampions1999? i bet he thinks torres and villa would do a better job than berba.

  17. Muggaz says:

    sanj – i’m just taking the piss, but they probably would do a better job than Berba, because they are latin players, they would be a lot more famous than him through-out the world… not to mention the language barrier…

    now I am just being a pedantic prick ;-)

  18. Phill says:

    That is the different between BIG CLUB…and Shitty “SMALL CLUB” !

  19. Bobby says:

    Am humbled by the good work done by these lads. It just shows how, apart from being suppers stars they still have human touch. It can’t come any better than this.

  20. exiledred says:

    Love the condom idea. What about some of these:

    George Best condom – copes with all those dribbles
    Jaap Stam condom – guaranteed keeps you hard as nails
    Man City defence condom – way too many leaks
    Kevin Keegan condom – you know she’ll “just love it”

    Best get on with some work now…..

  21. sanj says:

    muggaz- that wasn’t directed at you… i too admire barca. i was just poking fun at a certain person who has been posting drivel all over the site.

  22. Pi says:

    Very touching story/article.

    @GHTT – I totally agree mate! I’d get a pack of ‘em myself, but I wonder if they only sell at the Megastore at OT.

  23. theboogeyman says:

    Scott,I don’t mean to be pedantic,but the “S” should be upper case too.

  24. Marley says:

    United condoms eh? its a shame Dong left!

  25. United Rant says:

    What about the Arsene Wenger condom…. works great with young boys. On second thoughts, best not go there.

  26. MUMFC1999 says:

    Come on… the lads are doing some real good here and some of you are somehow using this as a stick to beat other clubs with. It’s not realy in context with the artical.

  27. jaxorz90 says:

    well done to them and any players who get involved
    way to give something back guys! x

  28. United Rant says:

    @MUMFC1999 Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to mention the sanctimonious condoms :) United has been working with UNICEF since 1999. Great work of course. But still, there’s room for some fun too.


You must be logged in to post a comment.