The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), an international leader in the global fight to end AIDS, and the International AIDS Society (IAS) today announced that Sir Elton John and the Duke of Sussex will launch a new global coalition focused on treating HIV infections in men at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. The coalition and its inaugural campaign will be unveiled on July 24th at the conference’s Opening Plenary and subsequently showcased in its Global Village.
“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” commented Sir Elton. “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.”
In addition to the new coalition’s launch, on Tuesday, July 24th, EJAF will host 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 marginalized communities. The EECA Key Populations Fund, the first initiative of its kind, will prioritize these marginalized communities with innovative responses to the region’s expanding epidemic.
EJAF 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 organizations 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 stigmatization of marginalized communities across continents. This year, 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.
The Foundation is also participating, supporting or showcasing its work in the following:
- On Monday, July 23, EJAF Executive Director Anne Aslett will chair a session at the Gilead symposium entitled “Together we can stop the Virus,” focusing on the needs of key populations
- On Saturday, July 21, EJAF Grants Director Mohamed Osman will chair a session reviewing strategy for improving HIV testing for Men at the PEPFAR partners meeting
- On Sunday, July 22, Mohamed Osman will deliver a presentation at the Changing the game in adolescent-centred design: Assets, access, adherence, he will also be a panellist at C3 Collaborathon: Collaborating to drive extraordinary and sustainable results
- On Tuesday, July 24, Mohamed will lead two non-commercial satellite sessions: Where Are All the Men: Ensuring Access to HIV Testing and Treatment Services and A Brave New World: Understanding Users to Maximize the Impact of HIV Self-Testing.
Additionally, EJAF is sponsoring the Lancet Commission on the Future of Global Health and the HIV Response, and EJAF partners are presenting at the following sessions throughout the conference:
- Diagnose, treat, innovate: A paradigm shift for ending pediatric AIDS
- HIV and Migration within a fast track agenda
- Intersectional Stigma: Measurement and Interventions Strategies to Address Multiple Intersecting Stigmas that Potentiate HIV Risks and Limit Engagement in Care
- Getting PrEP to where it’s needed most: A global conversation led by African men who have sex with men (MSM)
- Parliamentarians leading the fight against AIDS
“The International AIDS Conference offers an opportunity to come together and get smarter in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “We’re doing our part to focus the fight where it’s needed most: breaking down the barriers keeping key populations around the world from lifesaving treatment. Elton and I are proud to be able to join the community of people living with HIV/AIDS, activists, global health specialists, NGOs, and policy makers in Amsterdam for AIDS 2018. With almost a third of those infected with HIV globally still not aware of their status or accessing treatment, we must maintain a real sense of collective urgency to get us to an AIDS-free future.”