Elton John, Prince Harry launch bid to 'smash' AIDS stigma

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bioLytical Laboratories, a world leader in rapid infectious disease tests and developer of the 1 minute INSTI HIV Self Test, commends Sir Elton John and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex for the launch of the MenStar Coalition to engage men in new and innovative ways to break the cycle of HIV transmission.

Adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 account for nearly two thirds of the 3 million under-19 year-olds living with HIV.

"Young people are the only age group where HIV infections are rising, not falling", warned rock star and veteran AIDS campaigner Sir Elton John as he announced the launch of the MenStar Coalition focused on testing and treating HIV infections in men at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.

The analysis further indicates that about two-thirds of those to be infected will be girls or young women.

Out of the 30 hourly infections in 2017, about 20 were girls aged 15 to 19, which represents a "crisis of health as well as a crisis of agency", according to UNICEF.

Aleya Khalifa of the UNICEF who presented the data, noted that reducing the HIV burden among young people in sub-Saharan Africa will require better access to HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and targeted testing services. "HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalized, leaving teenage girls at the centre of the crisis".

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The report said while there was significant progress in the battle against AIDS in other age groups, it is notably lacking among adolescents. Around 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017 and around 50 countries experienced a rise in new HIV infections as HIV prevention services are not being provided on an adequate scale or with sufficient intensity.

South African actress Charlize Theron agreed as she addressed the day's opening plenary session entitled: "Breaking the barriers of inequity".

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. "Most people living with HIV who know their status take steps to prevent transmitting HIV to others".

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.

"Health is a human rights imperative and we are deeply concerned about the lack of political commitment and the failure to invest in proven HIV programmes, particularly for young people and key populations", said the UNAIDS chief, in a press release.