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Friday, 13 July 2018

Sir Elton John and Duke of Sussex to launch global coalition to treat HIV

Written by Lucy Mapstone

Sir Elton John and the Duke of Sussex will join forces to launch a new global coalition focused on treating HIV infections in men, it has been announced.

The musician, who founded The Elton John Aids Foundation (Ejaf) in 1992, will launch the new effort along with the International Aids Society (IAS) at the 2018 International Aids Conference in Amsterdam later this month along with Harry, who has followed in his mother's footsteps as a prominent supporter of HIV/Aids charities.

Sir Elton said: "Two years ago at the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa the Duke of Sussex and I participated in a panel looking at HIV and youth - the only age demographic where HIV infections are rising not falling.

"Since then, my Foundation, along with other partners, have been undertaking participatory, human-centred design research collectively covering six countries.

"A critical finding from this work is the urgent need to rapidly scale up men's access to and engagement in HIV testing and treatment services."

Along with the coalition's launch at the International Aids Conference on July 24, Sir Elton's non-profit organisation will host a press conference to announce new partners in its Eastern Europe and Central Asia Key Populations Fund.

That fund, launched in October last year, aims to prioritise the "marginalised communities", where 96% of the 1.5 million people living with HIV live in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with innovative responses to the expanding epidemic.

Ejaf will also present the achievements of the LGBT Fund, which supports the LGBT communities in multiple African countries, at the conference.

David Furnish, Sir Elton's husband and the chairman of Ejaf, said: "The International Aids Conference offers an opportunity to come together and get smarter in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"We're doing our part to focus the fight where it's needed most: breaking down the barriers keeping key populations around the world from lifesaving treatment.

"Elton and I are proud to be able to join the community of people living with HIV/Aids, activists, global health specialists, NGOs, and policy makers in Amsterdam for Aids 2018.

"With almost a third of those infected with HIV globally still not aware of their status or accessing treatment, we must maintain a real sense of collective urgency to get us to an Aids-free future."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Paul Hackett / PA Wire.