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Our AIDSFree campaign has achieved so much but HIV testing must become routine for all

Sir Elton John
·1-min read
<p>Sir Elton addresses an audience before being presented with the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award</p> (AP)

Sir Elton addresses an audience before being presented with the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award


Two years ago, our AIDSFree Cities campaign helped us to regain traction and attention on HIV through the generosity and interest of Independent and Evening Standard readers.

The reach that the campaign offered us can be seen on these pages – especially in a year where another infectious virus has dominated the headlines – and we must continue this momentum. There are still 38 million people around the world living with HIV/Aids. We cannot forget about them.

In January 2019, health secretary Matt Hancock made the very welcome commitment to end HIV infections in England by 2030.

My foundation, alongside the Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust, sponsored a new HIV Commission and today we release our recommendations. You can see the critical role that HIV testing plays in the programmes my foundation is supporting in Nairobi, Kiev, Maputo and Delhi. Testing for HIV is also at the core of ending new cases in England. There are estimated to be 5,900 people living with HIV in England who don’t know it.

The best thing they can do to protect themselves and others is to find out their status through an HIV test.

I know this from my foundation’s social impact bond, which finds people living with HIV through routine testing in A&E departments and GP surgeries.

We’ve found more than 130 people living with HIV who didn’t know it in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth in the past 18 months.

Today, our top recommendation to the government is: make HIV testing routine and normalised across the health system, no matter what your ethnicity, gender, age or sexuality.

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