Published: Fri, July 27, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Prince Harry And Elton John Honour Princess Diana With Global AIDS Initiative

Prince Harry And Elton John Honour Princess Diana With Global AIDS Initiative

The Netherlands has earmarked €10m for a special fund which works to make hiv prevention and drugs more accessible to vulnerable groups, Dutch aid minister Sigrid Kaag told a major Aids conference in Amsterdam on Monday evening. Thousands of delegates, researchers, campaigners, activists and people living with the virus are attending and hope to bring the disease back into the spotlight.

Prince Harry is no stranger to humanitarian efforts.

The Duke of Sussex has met young people who hope to influence the fight against HIV at an global Aids conference in Amsterdam.

The slogan for this year's conference is "Breaking barriers, building bridges".

The duo teamed up to spearhead the annual gathering and launch the billion-dollar MenStar Coalition, which is aimed at "expanding the diagnoses and treatment of HIV infections in men, with the aim of ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030", according to Kensington Palace.

"Too often and for good reason, men have been seen as the problem in the fight against AIDS, so in response, we have done so much to safeguard women and girls", Elton said.

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, will also be participating and co-organising a number of AIDS 2018 events about condom programming, HIV primary prevention and political resistance.

"We've gone in and worked in slightly more controversial ways, working strongly with marginalized communities that people don't want to embrace".

Among them are men aged 24 to 35 who are accessing HIV testing and treatment at "unacceptably low rates", said Elton John.

"We can not solve the whole problem if we're only addressing half the situation", Elton John added.

Data in the report showed that overall among adults and children worldwide, some 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.

The International AIDS Conference, the largest conference on any global health issue in the world, will provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights.

Despite antiretroviral drugs being more widely available, infection continues.

According to UNAIDS, some 1.8 million people were newly infected with AIDS a year ago.

In recent days, experts have alerted that new HIV infections, while down overall, have surged in some parts of the world as global attention has waned and funding levelled off.

Prince Harry said a public perception that the AIDS crisis was over posed a risk to the progress of the past 30 years.

The MenStar Coalition was primed to perform "the tough but essential work of truly changing mindsets", the Prince added.

The stigma they face causes them to miss out on life-saving testing and treatment, he said.

Hundreds of delegates walked out of the opening of the International AIDS Conference on 23 July 2018 in protest when UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé took the stage.

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