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Prince Harry joins Elton John to launch HIV campaign targeting men

26 July 2018

"Inspired by the growing alarm of the rate of new HIV infections among young women, this campaign is bravely tackling the root of this problem - the lack of awareness of HIV prevention amongst hard-to-reach young men".

U.S Global AIDS Coordinator and Representative for the global health diplomacy, Ambassador Deborah Birx said PEPFAR will invest over $800 million in the next year to advance the goals of the MenStar Coalition.

In 2017, 1.2 million 15- to 19-year-olds were living with HIV, three in five of them were girls, according to UNICEF.

Sir Elton John has spoken at the 2018 World AIDS Conference in Amsterdam blasting Russian Federation for their poor treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people saying their tough laws is having a direct effect on rising HIV transmissions.

However, globally, access to HIV services for men who have s3x with men is still being blocked by bad laws. Around 73 countries have laws that criminalize HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission, and 39 countries have applied other criminal law provisions in similar cases.

UNAIDS says the fight against the AIDS epidemic - in which 37 million people worldwide are infected with the incurable HIV virus - is at a "precarious point", with deaths falling, treatment rates rising, but rates of new HIV infections stubbornly high. The number new HIV diagnoses in this key population decreased from more than 60 in 1999 to nearly zero in 2014.

"About two-thirds of these will be girls or young women", said Aleya Khalifa of Unicef.

"Many of these laws do not take into account measures that reduce HIV transmissibility, including condom use, and were enacted well before the preventive benefit of antiretroviral therapy or pre-exposure prophylaxis was fully characterized", said José M. Zuniga, IAPAC President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2017, around 6500 women and girls were infected with HIV every week. Limited access to education, a lack of economic autonomy and a lack of decision-making power, including over their own health, expose them to intimate partner violence, limit their ability to practise safer s3x and limit their ability to benefit from HIV and s3xual and reproductive health services, making them more vulnerable to HIV infection. This requires countries to reform discriminatory laws that perpetuate inequality and develop and enforce laws that promote gender equality.

Namibia has achieved great success in controlling its HIV epidemic through prevention and treatment programs and is close to reach its 90:90:90 targets, according to the country's health ministry on Wednesday. People are are not being diagnosed and treated soon enough, allowing transmissions to occur before they start treatment or if treatment is interrupted.

Prince Harry joins Elton John to launch HIV campaign targeting men