Sir Elton John has said resources must be focused on reaching out to LGBT people in Africa.
The Rocketman singer spoke at the major HIV conference in Durban, South Africa, to praise Prince Harry for publicly taking a HIV test last week. He compared Harry to his late mother Princess Diana, on attempts to bring down barriers of stigma.
Sir Elton’s AIDS Foundation will be working on a new project to reach out to LGBT people in Africa, where being LGBT remains taboo, and in some jurisdictions is criminalized. He said he plans for the project to focus education, legal assistance and medicine on reaching the LGBT communities there.
He said: “We’ve come an awful long way. Now if a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t pass the disease onto the child, that’s how far we’ve come.”
Going on, he said there is still much to do, saying many people born with HIV cannot be ignored, and that “great work” could come to nothing if the fight is given up now.
Of homophobia around the globe, Sir Elton said it is “disconcerting”.
“The human spirit will always prevail,” he added, “but it is disconcerting to see people being marginalised, to see people fearful to be who they are. And if they are gay, and if they have HIV, they’re not likely to come out, they’re going to spread the disease further.”
Also at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, it was announced that a major trial of a HIV vaccine will go ahead later this year.