Prince and pop su­per­star fight virus

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WEEK­END AR­GUS REPORTER

EL­TON John and Prince Harry will at­tend the In­ter­na­tional Aids Con­fer­ence in Dur­ban next week, it has been con­firmed.

The pop star and Bri­tish royal will host a youth-fo­cused ses­sion at the con­fer­ence, John’s Aids foun­da­tion said in a state­ment.

The ses­sion will ad­dress HIV among ado­les­cents, with an em­pha­sis on how stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion af­fect youth.

John and Harry will be joined by Prince Seeiso of Le­sotho and a panel of young ad­vo­cates who will talk about what needs to be done to ad­dress the needs of youth with HIV.

John’s foun­da­tion would also an­nounce the first re­cip­i­ent of the LGBT Funda, a $10 mil­lion part­ner­ship with the Pres­i­dent’s Emer­gency Plan for Aids Re­lief, a US gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive which fo­cuses on Africa.

“To­day, HIV/Aids is a treat­able disease and no longer the death sen­tence it was 10 years ago, but we can­not grow com­pla­cent in our fight to erad­i­cate it com­pletely. If our ef­forts wane, anti-vi­ral drug re­sis­tance will resur­face, trans­mis­sion rates will again rise, and this disease, which knows no bound­aries, will once again be­come a ruth­less pan­demic with dis­as­trous and far-reach- ing con­se­quences,” John said.

“Many LGBT peo­ple and youth around the world still don’t have ac­cess to life-sav­ing treat­ment and face high cases of stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion. I look for­ward to work­ing with Prince Harry and other world lead­ers to help make our dream of an Aids-free world a re­al­ity.”

John has been heav­ily in­volved in the fight against Aids since the late 1980s, and in 1992 he es­tab­lished his foun­da­tion. Since its in­cep­tion, it has raised more than $350m for Aids ini­tia­tives.

John, who an­nounced he was bi­sex­ual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988, en­tered into a civil part­ner­ship with David Fur­nish on De­cem­ber 21, 2005 and af­ter gay mar­riage be­came le­gal in England, wed Fur­nish on De­cem­ber 21, 2014.

He is a noted cham­pion of les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, and trans­gen­der ( LGBT) so­cial move­ments world­wide, and of same-sex mar­riage.

Last year the foun­da­tion es­tab­lished Young Sur­vivors, a fundrais­ing cam­paign to save the lives of young peo­ple liv­ing with HIV in se­lected African cities.

In 2014 the foun­da­tion and Pep­far awarded $7m to Health- 4Men, a South African pro­gramme that pro­vides free and con­fi­den­tial health care for men who have sex with men.

John’s foun­da­tion and Pep­far will also host a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day to for­mally an­nounce the first grantee of their joint LGBT Fund. This fund, launched last year, will sup­port to NGOs in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and the Caribbean.


El­ton John will at­tend the In­ter­na­tional Aids Con­fer­ence in Dur­ban.

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