Prince Harry and Sir Elton John joined forces at the Amsterdam-hosted 2018 International AIDS Conference in the Netherlands yesterday. The pair unveiled a new partnership to combat rising HIV rates in youth on a global scale.
Their plan: the new MenStar Coalition, a worldwide initiative to stem male transmission of HIV infections, with a stated goal of “ending the AIDS epidemic as a public threat” by 2030. Their shared inspiration: the singer’s close friend and mother to the Prince, the late Princess Diana.
It’s not the first appearance by either the British royal or the pop legend at the conference for them as a pair, who have both demonstrated a long-term committment to eradicating the epidemic once and for all in the near future.
The coalition will act as an umbrella organization that brings together such philanthropies as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, as well as such compassionate corporations as PREPFAR, Johnson & Johnson, and Gilead Sciences — all of whom have for years spearheaded support for HIV prevention and treatment. The aggregate will narrow its focus though, to specifically “delivering effective HIV/AIDS services for men.”
The Prince, who monitors the latest in HIV-related developments, lavished praise on Elton for his decades-long involvement:
“I am honored to be sharing the stage with someone who has always put people at the center of his work, Sir Elton John,” he said. “For over a quarter-century, Elton has worked tirelessly to fund research and services in communities around the world. And today, he has come to Amsterdam to announce his latest endeavor, a billion-dollar global partnership to break the cycle of male transmission of HIV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.”
As much of the world already knows, John worked tirelessly to open London’s first ward to deal exclusively with HIV and AIDS patients (with the clout of Princess Diana behind him) in 1987, when stigma and misinformation about the virus was at its height. That was the scene of one of Diana’s most indelible photos was snapped, as she held the hand of a patient dying from the disease — something considered by many to be risky at the time. That simple act broke down barriers and opened minds and hearts to people suffering through the epidemic. That also left such an impression on Elton that he re-recorded “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to her and her work.
Here they are in Amsterdam:
Blue Blood: Prince Harry Takes the HIV Test
Last modified: April 12, 2019