AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Prince Harry joined pop star Elton John on Tuesday to launch a marketing campaign to boost HIV consciousness amongst males, warning that “dangerous complacency” concerning the virus threatened the hunt to wipe it out.
The billion-dollar mission “MenStar” will goal males dwelling with or liable to HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been ravaged by AIDS because the 1980s.
“The MenStar coalition is bravely tackling the root cause of this problem — the lack of awareness of HIV prevention amongst hard-to-reach young men,” Harry mentioned on the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.
Speaking on the launch, which additionally featured South African actress Charlize Theron and Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of late President Nelson Mandela, Elton John mentioned: “If we want to end AIDS once and for all, we must make men part of the solution.”
Around 36.7 million individuals across the world have HIV, based on 2016 figures cited by the United Nations’ HIV/AIDS physique UNAIDS. Fewer than half of males dwelling with HIV obtain treatment in contrast with 60 % of ladies, it mentioned.
“It is time there was a global coalition to teach men to protect themselves. And in doing so, it will teach them to better protect not only their wives and girlfriends, their sisters and daughters, but also, critically, their brothers and their sons,” the British singer mentioned.
UNAIDS mentioned this month that the combat towards HIV/AIDS was “slipping off track” and whereas deaths have been falling and treatment charges rising, charges of latest HIV infections threatened to derail efforts to defeat the illness.
Prince Harry mentioned the marketing campaign launch got here at “a time when new energetic and innovative solutions are needed more than ever before”.
“MenStar” is supported by the U.S. government’s PEPSTAR programme and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Experts on the conference hope for the elimination of AIDS worldwide by 2030, however the United Nations warned final Wednesday of a funding hole of £four.6 billion that threatens efforts.
Reporting by Verity Crane; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Robin Pomeroy