OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:07 PM – Thursday, November 30, 2023
Great Britain could be the first nation in the world “to defeat this awful virus,” according to Elton John, who pushed British MPs to take stronger action against HIV and AIDS.
The legendary British musician addressed legislators and activists on Wednesday night in the Speaker’s House of Parliament at a ceremony that was meant to recognize his commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom and abroad.
“I implore you not to waste your allotted time as political leaders,” John urged dozens of lawmakers. “Take action and push things a little further than might feel comfortable. And as you do, I can promise you this: I will be there with you.”
Since founding the AIDS Foundation in 1992, John has contributed millions of dollars to the fight against HIV/AIDS and to lessen stigma.
“This evening I was privileged to welcome Sir Elton John and acknowledge his exceptional contribution to the global fight against HIV and AIDS — personally and through the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said on X, formerly Twitter.
“His work embodies the solidarity and kindness that defines our shared humanity,” he added.
The U.K. government’s decision to expand a pilot program to test patients in hospital emergency departments for HIV, which has found hundreds of undiagnosed instances of the virus, was greeted by John as “truly wonderful news.”
Unless they want to opt out of the testing, anybody 16 years of age or older who has their blood tested at an emergency hospital will also be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C under the program, which was recently implemented in London and other places with a high frequency of HIV infections.
“Automatic testing gets to people earlier, which means less HIV transmission, less illness, less death, and by the estimate of health economists, 50 million pounds ($63 million) saved for the NHS,” Britain’s health service, John said.
The initiative will be expanded to 46 additional emergency rooms around England, according to health experts, in an effort to reach the 4,500 people in the country who may be HIV positive but are not yet aware of it.
World AIDS Day is on Friday, and the reception for John in Parliament was held ahead of time. In keeping with World Health Organization targets, the United Kingdom intends to have zero HIV transmissions in England by 2030.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised John’s AIDS Foundation earlier on Wednesday, expressing his satisfaction that the organization’s efforts were being honored in Parliament.
“Sir Elton has been a powerful voice for change in the U.K. and the world,” Sunak told lawmakers. “Through the brilliant work of the AIDS Foundation, he has raised awareness of the issue, reduced stigma, and saved lives.”
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