Sunday, June 16, 2024

Elton John welcomes growth of opt-out testing for HIV to 46 Accident & Emergency websites throughout England and calls on all political leaders to do extra to finish AIDS in a speech at Speaker’s Home


Elton John was honored at a reception hosted by the All Celebration Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS on the Speaker’s Home right now in recognition of his enduring dedication to ending the AIDS epidemic, each personally and thru the work of the Elton John AIDS Basis.

Image Credit: Elton John AIDS Foundation

Picture Credit score: Elton John AIDS Basis

Earlier right now, Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Well being and Social Care outlined how the UK Authorities will probably be increasing the vastly profitable NHS opt-out blood-borne virus testing programme for HIV and Hepatitis to 46 new emergency departments throughout England. Enlargement of this system, from the present 33 websites to each excessive prevalence space, may determine a major proportion of the estimated 4,500 individuals dwelling with undiagnosed HIV, stop new transmissions and save extra lives.

Addressing a packed Speaker’s Home, Elton John welcomed the UK Authorities’s additional roll-out of opt-out testing: “My Basis and companions did a three-year pilot (2018-2021) within the South London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. This pioneering method confirmed past a doubt that opt-out testing works in A&E. Computerized testing will get to individuals earlier, which implies much less HIV transmission, much less sickness, much less loss of life and by the estimate of well being economists, £50 million saved for the NHS. So, to listen to right now from the Secretary of State that this work will probably be expanded to each excessive HIV prevalence space…46 new Accident & Emergency departments in native hospitals throughout England…greater than doubling the variety of HIV exams, is actually fantastic information.” 

He additionally shared his private reflections on the lengthy struggle to finish the AIDS epidemic and known as on all political leaders to do extra: “Whoever wins the subsequent normal election can assist to finish AIDS worldwide by 2030. Beginning proper right here at residence. Within the UK, new HIV diagnoses are down 46% since their peak in 2015.[1] We could be the primary nation on this planet to defeat this terrible virus. Taking part in our half, fulfilling the United Nations aim and exhibiting different nations the way it’s completed.” 

“Within the 1990’s, I visited far too many properties the place individuals have been dying of AIDS. I bear in mind the helpless, suffocating feeling as one after one other they succumbed, not figuring out if it might ever finish. These reminiscences are etched on my soul, and so they taught me lots. I noticed, as thousands and thousands did, photographs of my buddy Princess Diana publicly shake the hand of a person dying of AIDS and realized a easy act of compassion is a drive to be reckoned with.”

“My Basis was born the 12 months after Freddie died. Spreading love and compassion was our compass. Leaving nobody behind was our observe. 31 years later, we’ve got achieved a lot. We have raised near half a billion kilos, funding hundreds of applications across the globe. We have funded virtually each HIV charity within the UK and each main place within the NHS the place you may get remedy for HIV. We have reached 100 million individuals globally and we have saved 5 million lives. By no means did I feel my Basis’s work would flip right into a lifelong dedication or that so many individuals would want our assist.”

“I implore you to not waste your allotted time as political leaders. Take motion and push issues somewhat additional than would possibly really feel comfy. And as you do, I can promise you this: I will probably be there with you. Preventing for equal entry and truthful remedy. Giving the whole lot I can for the remainder of my life to ending HIV/AIDS. As a result of we should keep the course. I lengthy to applaud a room like this, after this epidemic has gone.”

With 39 million individuals around the globe dwelling with HIV and 1.3 million individuals newly contaminated final 12 months, Elton John additionally spoke in regards to the want for the UK to do extra internationally: restoring the UK’s full dedication to The World Fund to struggle AIDS, TB and Malaria, establishing new fashions of partnership and engagement, and defending civil liberties.

“Abandoning ending AIDS would not simply be a failure for the 39 million individuals dwelling with the illness. We would be failing to organize for no matter international virus comes subsequent, as a result of we all know that combating AIDS is pandemic preparedness in motion. So, we must be rising our dedication to the World Fund, not chopping it. And if the Authorities is severe about ending AIDS, I name on it to fully restore the UK’s dedication, to pledge £1.46 billion kilos this present three-year cycle and make sure the World Fund is absolutely financed.”

World AIDS Day will probably be commemorated on 1st December and regardless of advances in remedy, 630,000 individuals died of AIDS associated ailments in 2022. Worldwide, HIV charges are rising sooner amongst younger individuals than in another group and greater than half of individuals dwelling with HIV are girls and ladies. Over 9 million persons are not at present accessing remedy that might save their lives, all too actually because disgrace and stigma is holding them again.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the Home of Commons, welcomed visitors from all the foremost political events and main HIV/AIDS organisations to the occasion, and said: “It’s an honour to host this reception for Elton John in recognition of his work to finish HIV and AIDS. Sir Elton has been an unwavering advocate within the struggle towards HIV and AIDS for 4 many years. His efforts have helped destigmatize the illness, promote schooling, and supply essential assist to these affected, making him a real champion within the aim to finish AIDS.”

Florence Eshalomi MP, Co-Chair of the APPG HIV/AIDS, additionally welcomed the Authorities’s announcement and praised Elton John for his ongoing work: “We’re delighted that the Authorities right now has taken concrete steps to extend and normalise HIV testing within the UK. The APPG believes that as Parliamentarians, we must always play our half in addressing this epidemic and that is one thing we’ve got been calling for following the profitable roll-out of opt-out to extraordinarily excessive prevalence areas. We additionally echo Elton John’s feedback that while this may have a really actual and vital impression, there’s nonetheless an enormous quantity that must be completed to finish the AIDS epidemic each right here within the UK and overseas.”

Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Basis, mentioned: “The Elton John AIDS Basis was arrange by Elton at his kitchen desk in Atlanta, Georgia within the 90’s when all we may do for individuals dwelling with AIDS was to offer meals and luxury and in the end finish of life care. Thirty years on and the Basis has raised greater than $565 million for HIV/AIDS grants globally and funded greater than 3,000 tasks in over 90 international locations. Spreading love and compassion has at all times been our compass; leaving nobody behind our observe. We’re delighted by the UK Authorities’s announcement right now to additional broaden opt-out testing – an method we first piloted with our companions in London boroughs in 2018. This coverage will hold individuals in care, save lives and is a vital step in direction of assembly the aim of ending new HIV instances within the UK by 2030.”

David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Basis, mentioned: “We now have come to date in direction of an AIDS free future and the UK Authorities’s resolution to broaden opt-out testing will guarantee extra individuals get the fitting care and remedy they should stay full and wholesome lives. If politicians on all sides decide to the actions outlined by Elton John right now, we’ve got an actual probability of reaching one thing unbelievable by turning into the primary nation to cease new HIV transmissions.”

Victoria Atkins, Well being and Social Care Secretary, mentioned: “Lower than three many years in the past, HIV might be a loss of life sentence. It was usually – and wrongly – thought-about a supply of disgrace, and diagnoses have been hidden from pals, household and society. However right now, due to efficient remedies, it’s attainable to stay an extended and wholesome life with HIV.  

“The work of the good campaigners and charities, together with the Elton John AIDS Basis, whose efforts have helped us get the place we’re right now rightly should be celebrated. In addition to selling prevention for all, the extra individuals we are able to diagnose, the extra probability we’ve got of ending new transmissions of the virus and the stigma wrongly hooked up to it. This program, which improves individuals’s well being and wellbeing, saves lives and cash.”

Keir Starmer, chief of the Labour Celebration, mentioned: “The tireless work of campaigners, survivors, scientists, medical workers and others has meant that, for the primary time, we are able to say that the top of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is on the horizon. We now have a world the place HIV optimistic individuals can stay freely and love freely, one thing so many individuals have been as soon as too scared even to dream. The unbelievable progress made to date, ensuing within the growth of the NHS opt-out blood-borne virus testing programme, must be extensively celebrated.”

“Sir Elton John has been a relentless voice championing this trigger all through his life. He has raised thousands and thousands of kilos for frontline providers and saved lives by breaking down the stigma that sees lives misplaced at midnight. We’re endlessly grateful for his dedication to public service, and his life-saving work. But when we’re to depart nobody behind, there’s a lot nonetheless to do. An incoming Labour authorities will hit the bottom operating, as a result of we should meet our goal of ending new HIV instances within the UK by 2030. That is why the Labour Celebration will fee an replace to the HIV Motion Plan as quickly as we come to authorities.”

Winnie Byanyima, Govt Director of UNAIDS and United Nations Underneath-Secretary-Basic, mentioned: “Over 40 million lives have been misplaced to AIDS. Even now, AIDS claims one other valuable life each single minute. The AIDS pandemic just isn’t over, however it may be. Elton John has fought tirelessly for 4 many years to deliver an finish to this horrible illness and to the injustices which drive it; now it’s politicians who should act and put in place the applications and insurance policies wanted to assist communities each domestically and internationally to finish AIDS for all.”

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