2016 AIDS CONFERENCE DIARY: PART TWO
Elton joined by Prince Harry to warn of HIV risk to young people
On the second day of the International AIDS Conference in Durban, Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Founder Sir Elton John addressed the delegates joined by Prince Harry. The Prince who founded the Lesotho charity Sentebale which cares for children with HIV, highlighted the high number of children and young people still without access to life-saving treatment;
“It is time for us to step up to make sure no young person feels any shame in asking for an HIV test. It is time for us to step up to make sure that girls and boys with HIV aren’t kept from playing with their friends, classmates, and neighbours.”
Prince Harry recognised the contribution from Elton and his mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales who held the hand of a dying man at a South African hospital 25 years ago. Whilst both Elton and Prince Harry acknowledged the progress which has been made since then, they warned of the rising number of young people becoming infected with HIV. AIDS remains the leading cause of death in Africa and the second worldwide for adolescents. Many were born with the virus before drugs preventing mother to child transmission became available. Without treatment, they will not only infect others as they become sexually active but also succumb to an AIDS related infection such as TB which can be deadly.
Later, Elton visited adolescents living with HIV at KwaZulu-Natal Children's Hospital where he emphasized the importance of helping young people overcome their disease and stigma by expanding their access to treatment and care.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation has created a special initiative called Young Survivors which targets young people with HIV. This will aim to reach 50,000 in the most affected cities in Africa and will provide outreach, testing and treatment for those infected with the virus.
To support Young Survivors, contact Jamie.Webb@ejaf.org for more information.