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'Testing is so important': Sir Elton John on government's vow to end HIV infections by 2030
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'Testing is so important': Sir Elton John on government's vow to end HIV infections by 2030

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'Testing is so important': Sir Elton John on government's vow to end HIV infections by 2030

Sir Elton John is getting behind the government's vow to end HIV infections and deaths in England by 2030.

The government is pumping £23 million into funding for the cause, with an aim of reducing infections by 80 per cent by 2025 and putting an end to all new cases five years later.

And the Elton John AIDS Foundation founder and music legend, 74, has insisted the most vital thing is "testing".

Speaking on World AIDS Day (01.12.21), Elton said: "One thing we’ve learned this year is the importance of testing and testing for HIV is at the core of ending new cases of HIV in England. It’s so important for everyone to know their HIV status to protect themselves and others."

Star of HIV/AIDS drama 'It's A Sin', Nathaniel Hall, who identifies as gay, was diagnosed with HIV when he was 17, and he admitted he hopes the government "put their money where their mouth is and not slip up on that commitment."

Speaking about Russell T Davies' Channel 4 series about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s in the UK, the 22-year-old actor is quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying: ​"To land that gig with one of my screenwriting heroes was incredible.

"The good drama drew that huge audience in and it became an amazing opportunity for charities and people with HIV to educate.

"We are really close, so hopefully the government will put their money where their mouth is and not slip up on that commitment.

"As somebody living with HIV, it was a real honour to tell those stories in It’s a Sin.

"I had lots of people message me and say that it meant a lot to them to have somebody with lived experience of HIV in that cast."

Data provided from the Terrence Higgins Trust showed that across National HIV Testing Week - February 1st to 7th - more than 17,000 HIV tests were ordered, more than double the 8,200 ordered during last year's HIV Testing Week, following the launch of 'It's A Sin'.

An HIV Action Plan is set to be unveiled by Health Secretary Sajid Javid later this year.

Fraser Wilson from the non-profit Terrence Higgins Trust - which campaigns for and provides services relating to HIV and sexual health - issued the following statement: "The reason some people refuse the test is that they are scared.

"It’s about unlearning that so that people will be proactive in getting tested.

Thanks to effective treatment, people diagnosed with HIV today can live normal lives and become undetectable, which means they cannot pass the virus on.

"HIV is a health condition, yet it’s treated in a way that very few others are. So opt-out testing is about changing that."

The Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust and Elton John AIDS Foundation charities, who formed the HIV Commission in 2019, will be keeping an eagle-eye on their progress.

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This article originally ran on celebretainment.com.

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