Prince Harry joins Sir Elton John to launch AIDS initiative in Amsterdam

Prince Harry and Elton John

Prince Harry and Elton John

"It was very, very wonderful to be there", Elton John to CNN during an interview at the 2018 International AIDS Conference.

The target of their initiative, dubbed the MenStar Coalition, is young men - among whom infections are on the rise.

Nelson Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela, was also part of the launch and told delegates that the MenStar Coalition would allow men to "finally fully participate in creating an HIV-free generation of the future".

"There are many days when the challenges we face in Kenya and in so many other countries around the world can seem endless and they are a reminder that human rights must be fought for every day", he said during his address at the awards ceremony. 'We still haven't managed to achieve hiv prevention on a large scale and to offer treatment to 15 million people with Aids'.

Data in the report showed that overall among adults and children worldwide, some 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.

Organisers are warning the global epidemic in HIV/AIDS is far from over and that advances in treatment and survival are obscuring stubbornly high infections.

"Together, we will hold policy makers and donors accountable to the evidence - the end of AIDS will only come from prioritising science-based policies, ensuring adequate funding and working hard together to be certain that no one is left behind", she noted.

As the quest for better treatment continues, scientists reported worrying cases of birth defects among women using a promising new drug.

According to UNAIDS, some 1.8 million people were newly infected with AIDS previous year.

"The progress we have fought so hard for is at risk from a unsafe complacency", Prince Harry told conference delegates.

Mark Dybul, diplomat and former executive director of the Global Fund for Fight AIDS, warned the world could be steering for "a crisis of epic proportions".

"Young people are the only age group where HIV infections are rising, not falling", warned the 71-year-old Elton John, whose foundation has raised some $400 million in the quarter century since it was set up in 1992.

The new initiative was focused on "the tough but essential work of truly changing mindsets", the Duke of Sussex said.

Deputy President Mabuza will also formally open the South African exhibition stand, developed by SANAC, in collaboration with government and civil society partners.

The star said it was time to "end the cruel stigma and discrimination" which comes with HIV, telling the crowd that "we can not stop talking about it until everyone knows that being HIV-positive is just a diagnosis". The aim of the project was not to shame these places, but instead to highlight the people at the front who recognize the serious problems they are facing and are attempting to improve their responses.

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