The Elton John AIDS Foundation and International AIDS Foundation announced today that Elton and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, will be launching a new global coalition focused on treating HIV infections in men at the 2018 International AIDS Conference. This coalition will be revealed in Amsterdam at the conference's Opening Plenary on July 24.
"Two years ago at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, the Duke of Sussex and I participated in a panel looking at HIV and youth -- the only age demographic where HIV infections are rising not falling," said the piano player in a statement. "Since then, my foundation, along with other partners, have been undertaking participatory, human-centered design research collectively covering six countries. 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."
Not only will the EJAF be launching the coalition at the conference, but the charity will also be holding a press conference to announce new partners in its Eastern Europe & Central Asia Key Populations Fund (EECAKP) launched in October 2017, as well as the first grant awards under the fund and proposed activities. Over 96% of the 1.5 million people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) belong to marginalised communities. The EECA Key Populations Fund, the first initiative of its kind, will prioritise these marginalised communities with innovative responses to the region's expanding epidemic.
Elton's organisation will also present the achievements of the LGBT Fund, a $10 million effort jointly financed by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that was inaugurated in 2015 to support LGBT communities in multiple African countries. As part of this work, the lifesaving Rapid Response Fund, managed by the International AIDS Alliance, offers grants to help LGBT-led civil society organisations adapt to unexpected events that impact the ability of LGBT people to access HIV services.
The foundation's tradition of supporting a number of pre-conference activities continues with a special focus is on ending the stigmatisation of marginalised communities across continents. This year, the EJAF will play a role in events including WomenNow! 2018, an opportunity to address key concerns for the equity of women and girls in HIV; TRANS Action, a forum and platform for advancing universal the health and safety of trans people; and U=U, the campaign to put an end to misinformation and liberate people from stigma and fear from passing HIV to sexual partners.