Prince Harry, Elton John Launch Global Coalition to Halt HIV

Allison Shelley

July 24, 2018

The Duke of Sussex and Sir Elton John in Amsterdam to announce a billion dollar global partnership to break the cycle of male transmission of HIV.

The Duke of Sussex and Sir Elton John shared the stage today to launch a billion dollar global partnership designed to expand the diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection.

"We stand here at a moment when the progress we have fought so hard for is at risk from a dangerous complacency," Prince Harry said at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. "Too many around the world are still ignoring the damaging knock-on effect on education and other community services from not prioritizing HIV prevention and treatment."

Prince Harry is continuing the work of his late mother, Princess Diana, who raised awareness about HIV and helped break the stigma of the disease.

"When we focus on the reality of the child born with the virus, when we respect the young woman at risk due to the behavior of her partner, when we try to understand the perspective of the man who lacks access to information and testing,...we succeed in developing approaches that make a real and lasting difference," he told the audience.

"We are truly honored to have His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex join us for the second time at the conference," said International AIDS Society President Linda-Gail Bekker, who pointed out that he participated in a special session on issues facing young people with HIV in Durban, South Africa.

"His genuine commitment to the fight against AIDS is inspiring a whole new generation of leaders and reminding the world that AIDS is not over," she added.

The MenStar Coalition founded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Fund, and other partners, including two from industry — Gilead and Johnson & Johnson — seek to expand the diagnosis and treatment of HIV, break the cycle of transmission, and end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

"One overwhelming insight from this work, as the Duke of Sussex points out, is we have to do much, much more to bring men, especially younger men, more fully into the fold," Elton John said, pointing out that recent data have confirmed that men 24 to 35 years of age access HIV testing and treatment at dangerously low rates.

"Too often, and for very good reason, men have been seen as the problem in the fight against AIDS," the famous singer, songwriter pointed out. "In response, we have done so much to safeguard women and girls — and rightly so — but we can't solve the whole problem if we are only addressing half the situation."

"If we want to win this fight, if we want to end AIDS once and for all, we must make men part of the solution," he explained.

Conference delegates, including HIV specialists, researchers, and allied health professionals, applauded loudly.

The coalition will use data analytics, targeted marketing, and human-centered design to better adapt services — including newer self-testing options — for men.

MenStar partners will share findings and progress to help optimize approaches.

International AIDS Conference 2018. Presented July 24, 2018.

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