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WATCH: Prince Harry and Elton John Launch Coalition to Fight HIV


They announced the new initiative at the #AIDS2018 conference in Amsterdam.

At the 2018 International AIDS Conference held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands today, a celebrity and royalty-led coalition to help fight rising HIV rates in youth was announced on July 24. Sir Elton John is teaming up with Prince Harry to battle HIV in far-reaching parts of the world.

Together they will launch the new MenStar Coalition, a global partnership aimed at researching and curbing the male transmission of HIV infections, with a goal towards “ending the AIDS epidemic as a public threat” by 2030. The coalition was launched in honor of Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana, whom they both adored.

It’s at least the second time the Prince Harry and Elton John duo have attended the International AIDS Conference and urged a renewed focus on AIDS — instead of remaining complacent.

The coalition includes partners like the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, PEPFAR, Gilead Sciences and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who, historically have been on the forefront of HIV prevention and treatment. The coalition  will focus on "delivering effective HIV/AIDS services for men.”

Harry is well informed of the current HIV-related issues that are most pressing. “I am honored to be sharing the stage with someone who has always put people at the center of his work, Sir Elton John,” Harry said at the conference. “For over a quarter-century, Elton has worked tirelessly to fund research and services in communities around the world. And today, he has come to Amsterdam to announce his latest endeavor, a billion-dollar global partnership to break the cycle of male transmission of HIV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Sir Elton John, with the help of Princess Diana’s political power, helped to open London’s first exclusive HIV and AIDS ward in 1987, when the disease was still not completely understood. It was there that Princess Diana bravely shook the hand of a dying AIDS patient, an act that many people are still afraid to do. Diana’s actions reached conservative and elitist ears and helped reshape how modern society perceives people living with HIV. And of course, John re-released his mega hit song “Candle in the Wind” to reflect the merits that she accomplished during her lifetime, including battling HIV.

In a panel two years ago, John was informed that HIV rates are rising, not falling among youth. “Since then, my Foundation, along with other partners, have been undertaking participatory, human-centered design research collectively covering six countries,” he said

“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.” For one of the coalition’s first tasks, according to People magazine, it will help to improve HIV self-testing programs that target young men in Kenya.

For both John and Harry, this particular issue is personal. The Elton John AIDS Foundation posted a photo on Instagramof Princess Diana taking time to visit an AIDS patient, Gerard McGrath, in 1989. With the coalition, it’s one of the most noble recent acts Harry and John have gotten behind.

Watch the panel below:



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