HIV/Aids

Updated 26 July 2016

HIV won’t end without gay community – Elton John

Sir Elton John told journalists at the International Aids Conference in Durban that the battle against HIV will not be won without LGBTI support in Africa.

0

Sir Elton John believes that the spread of HIV will not be curbed unless everyone is drawn into the battle – gay and lesbian groups included.

“No one should be left behind,” the English singer-songwriter and one of the most highly acclaimed solo artists told journalists at the 21st International Aids conference on Wednesday.

“The gay and lesbian community has always been at the centre of the pandemic. It was the gay community that first took to the streets and demanded treatment for all people,” said John, who was accompanied by his husband, David Furnish.

Earlier in the day, John had accompanied Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on a site visit to the Gateway Clinic in KwaZulu Natal. The clinic is part of a sexual health campaign, ‘We The Brave’, that offers services to men who have sex with men in KwaZulu-Natal.

‘We The Brave’, spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute, operates in clinics in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Mpumalanga.

“I am touched to see the progress South Africans have made in promoting health care services catered for the LGBTI sector,” John said, adding that South Africa should continue to be an example to neighbouring countries in promoting equal rights for all people.

“South Africans are proud people, and when you give them tools they are able to achieve greater things,” he said.

The Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief  (PEPFAR) have given the HIV/Aids Alliance and the Global Forum on MSM (men who have sex with men) a grant to set up the first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Fund to strengthen community-based organisations and expand HIV prevention for the LGBTI communities.

Reacting to the grant, Shaun Mellors of the International HIV/Aids Alliance said that, as a gay man living with HIV, he realised he was in a privileged position because he is free to openly express his sexuality: “It’s a privilege that many gays and lesbians around the world do not have.”

The alliance works with over 800 community based LGBTI communities, especially in countries that criminalise homosexuality.

“We will not deal better with the spread of HIV if the people that need the care are criminalised and forced into the shadows.”

John added if people are excluded, they will find a way to rise up and fight for their rights and freedom.

“I will fight for gay people. My foundation will represent them, and we will protect their rights,” he said. – Health-e News.

Read more top stories from the 21st International Aids Conference:

It's not an honour to host Aids conference, says Charlize Theron

More than $36 billion a year needed to stop Aids

Three new studies uncover SA’s HIV transmission patterns

16 years on, the world’s biggest Aids conference returns to Africa

Stigma and shame still shrouds HIV amongst key populations

Marching for increased Aids funding

Health-e News is South Africa’s award-winning dedicated health news service producing news and in-depth analysis for the country’s print and television media.

 

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules