LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and music star Elton John are joining forces to launch a “global coalition” focused on treating HIV infections in men, the singer’s AIDS charity said on Thursday.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation did not go into details about the plan – but said all would be revealed at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on July 24.
The 71-year-old singer and 33-year-old prince are both prominent HIV and AIDS campaigners.
John sang at the funeral of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, and attended his wedding to actress Meghan Markle in May.
John said he and the prince had taken part in a panel two years ago about HIV and youth – “the only age demographic where HIV infections are rising not falling”.
“Since then, my Foundation, along with other partners, have been undertaking participatory, human-centered design research collectively covering six countries,” he added.
“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.”
Around 36.7 million people around the world have HIV, according to 2016 figures cited by the United Nations’ program UNAIDS.
A UNAIDS report released last year said less than half of men living with HIV globally were receiving treatment compared with 60 percent of women.
Harry has followed in the footsteps of his mother in fighting the stigma around AIDS and is a founding patron of charity Sentebale, which seeks to help children living with HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
(Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Heavens)