Prince Harry, Elton John to launch coalition against HIV in men

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and music star Elton John are joining forces to launch a “global coalition” focused on treating HIV infections in men, the singer’s AIDS charity said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry greets Elton John after the Royal Variety Performance at the Albert Hall in London, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo

The Elton John AIDS Foundation did not go into details about the plan – but said all would be revealed at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on July 24.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry speaks at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in London, May 22, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

The 71-year-old singer and 33-year-old prince are both prominent HIV and AIDS campaigners.

John sang at the funeral of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, and attended his wedding to actress Meghan Markle in May.

John said he and the prince had taken part in a panel two years ago about HIV and youth – “the only age demographic where HIV infections are rising not falling”.

FILE PHOTO: Singer Elton John speaks poses the red carpet during the commemoration of the Elton John AIDS Foundation 25th year fall gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, in New York, U.S. November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

“Since then, my Foundation, along with other partners, have been undertaking participatory, human-centered design research collectively covering six countries,” he added. 

“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.”

Around 36.7 million people around the world have HIV, according to 2016 figures cited by the United Nations’ program UNAIDS.

A UNAIDS report released last year said less than half of men living with HIV globally were receiving treatment compared with 60 percent of women.

Harry has followed in the footsteps of his mother in fighting the stigma around AIDS and is a founding patron of charity Sentebale, which seeks to help children living with HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.  

Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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