Prince Harry and Sir Elton John to launch group tackling AIDS
Prince Harry and Sir Elton John are set to announce an international group to fight AIDS.
The prince and the music legend plan to launch the MenStar Coalition tomorrow (July 24) at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.
Prince Harry, whose first joint royal engagement with new wife Meghan Markle was to attend a World AIDS Day event, has long campaigned on the issue.
At the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, he signed the UN AIDS ProTEST wall alongside Sir Elton, writing “Get tested! Why wouldn’t you? Harry” before the pair appeared together on a panel.
The MenStar Coalition is a conglomerate of groups working in the fight against AIDS, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the US Government’s PEPFAR programme, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The group’s first project will involve launching a new HIV self-testing campaign aimed at young men in Kenya.
Prince Harry will also be at the Amsterdam conference as the Patron of Sentebale, a charity he founded in 2006 which aims to help children affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
The Prince, who is sixth in line to the throne, made history last year by accepting an award from gay magazine Attitude.
He collected an award on behalf of his late mother, Princess Diana, who campaigned extensively on HIV/AIDS.
The Prince has followed in his mother’s footsteps by campaigning on HIV/AIDS issues, while he has also praised the “amazing” work of a transgender children’s charity.
During the AIDS crisis Princess Diana made many visits both officially and unofficially – and famously shook hands with a patient at the height of HIV stigma.
The charity named in her honour, The Diana Award, also works to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
In 2016, the Prince made headlines by taking a HIV test himself in a Facebook Live video, in an appeal for more people to get tested.
In his speech to International AIDS Conference in Durban, the Prince celebrated that HIV is no longer a “death sentence” as it was when his mother famously championed the cause.
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He said: “At the time of the first International AIDS conference, HIV was a death sentence. Treatment was not widely available in the developed world, let alone in poorer regions.
“Stigma kept HIV-positive people from talking openly about their condition and kept vulnerable people from having the courage to step into a clinic and ask for a test.
“But thanks to the work of leaders in the fight against HIV – people like Nelson Mandela, Sir Elton John, the brave activists of TAG and ACT UP, people like Dr Peter Piot, and like my mother, Princess Diana – we have made huge progress.”
His brother Prince William also made history in 2016, as the first royal to take part in a shoot for a gay magazine.