The Elton John AIDS Foundation is launching a $1 million emergency fund to assist people with HIV in obtaining care during the COVID-19 crisis.
“For almost 30 years my foundation has prioritized the most vulnerable people to HIV, to end the AIDS epidemic, and we’re committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too,” the musician said in a video posted on Twitter.
“Distributing medicine, testing, and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago,” he said. The fund will help to assure that the foundation’s partner organizations can continue to serve the most marginalized populations. “We’re with you, we’re thinking of you, we will not leave anyone behind,” he said.
Application forms are available at the foundation’s website, and April 23 is the deadline to apply. The fund seeks to support “solutions that have strong potential to address specific challenges that have arisen for people already living with or at severe risk of HIV/AIDS and who are now at heightened risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the site reads. “Such solutions should aim to demonstrably mitigate the threat of COVID-19 on maintaining current levels of access or increasing access to HIV-related prevention, testing, care and treatment adherence services.”
Medication adherence is particularly important at this time. Although the exact impact of COVID-19 on people with HIV has not been determined, HIV-positive people who are not on medication are at heightened risk of contracting other infections in general and developing complications, according to the World Health Organization. There is no evidence that the risk is greater for those whose HIV is well managed.
John’s other activism during the COVID-19 crisis has included hosting an all-star coronavirus relief concert March 29 that raised $10 million. Performers included Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Billie Joe Armstrong, and several others.