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Elton John announces massive live special with Sam Smith and Rina Sawayama for World AIDS Day

Reiss Smith November 25, 2020
Sir Elton John, Rina Sawayama and Sam Smith

Sir Elton John will be joined by Rina Sawayama and Sam Smith on World AIDS Day. (Getty)

Elton John will front a special live event to mark World AIDS Day (1 December).

Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish will appear in a special event streamed on the star’s TikTok channel and hosted by Reggie Yates to promote HIV/AIDS education.

The star said he hopes to “break down the myths around HIV, talk about safe sex, and ensure that young people know how to protect themselves and others”.

Kicking off at 7pm GMT, the live stream will feature performances by Sam Smith, Rina Sawayama (whose debut Sir Elton named his favourite album of the year in June) and Sam Fender, as well as appearances by other celebrities and TikTok stars.

“I’m excited to recognise World AIDS Day with TikTok and my foundation this year to celebrate progress that we’ve made and mark what we can do collectively to end the AIDS epidemic,” Sir Elton said in a statement.

“HIV may seem a disease of the past, especially with COVID-19 in the headlines, but it still affects everyone.

“We all need to care about HIV and end the discrimination around this disease.”

Elton John playing piano
Elton John performing at this summer’s One World event/ (Screen capture via Periscope)

The musician created his Elton John AIDS Foundation in the US in 1992, and launched it in the UK a year later.

To date it has raised more than $450 million to fight stigma around HIV/AIDS and help those living with the virus, with the ultimate aim of ending new infections and deaths.

It is one of the world’s largest philanthropic funders of HIV/AIDS grants worldwide.

As well as the live special, the foundation is also collaborating with TikTok on a HIV/AIDS education and awareness quiz, available from Wednesday (25 November), to help users understand more about prevention and their own sexual health.

In April, the foundation launched a $1 million emergency fund for HIV patients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For almost 30 years, my foundation has prioritised the most vulnerable people to HIV to end the AIDS epidemic, and we’re committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too,” Sir Elton said at the time.

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