Prince Harry and Longtime Friend Elton John Join Forces in the Fight Against AIDS
Following in the footsteps of his late mother Princess Diana, Prince Harry is continuing to prove himself a people’s prince this week at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam
With the help of longtime family friend Sir Elton John, 71, who also performed at Harry and Meghan Markle‘s wedding reception in May, the Duke of Sussex, 33, announced the launch of the billion-dollar MenStar Coalition project, a new network of international funders for AIDS research.
“We stand here at a moment when the progress we have fought so hard for is at risk from a dangerous complacency,” Prince Harry, who is carrying on Princess Diana’s legacy of dismantling the stigma around HIV/AIDS, told delegates at the conference on Tuesday.
“Too many around the world are still ignoring the damaging knock-on effect on education and other community services from not prioritizing HIV prevention and treatment. This is a time when new, energetic and innovative solutions are needed more than ever before. This initiative is focused on the tough but essential work of truly changing mind-sets […] and the work to make the world’s governments play their full role in tackling the epidemic.”
The first order of business for the MenStar Coalition — which includes partner organizations like the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — will be to spearhead an HIV self-testing campaign directed at young men in Kenya. The initiative is largely aimed at protecting and educating “hard-to-reach” men as a means of increasing HIV/AIDS education and growing closer to a solution.
“If we want to end AIDs once and for all, we must make men part of the solution,” coalition founder Sir Elton John, a prominent voice in the ongoing battle, told attendees of the international conference on Tuesday after being introduced by Prince Harry.
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The International AIDS Conference is “the largest conference on any global health issue in the world” and was founded in 1985, around the time Princess Diana was working hard to quell international anxiety surrounding the epidemic.
Prince Harry joined the “Let Youth Lead” advocates of his HIV-focused charity Senetable on Monday. The charity, founded in 2006 in partnership with Prince Seesio of Lesotho in Southern Africa, focuses specifically on children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. He introduced young representatives of the charity to policymakers as a means of encouraging conversation surrounding the best intervention techniques for a younger generation.
“More and more leaders, they should be using the younger generation and the experiences you have,” Prince Harry told the young advocates of Senetable during a discussion on Monday, the 23rd, British broadcaster ITV reported. “I’m 33 years old and I already feel out of touch.”