Elton John launches fund for HIV/AIDS work amid coronavirus

By Sonia Elks

LONDON, April 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Elton John has launched a $1 million emergency fund to help organisations working with people living with HIV or AIDS so they are not "left behind" during the coronavirus crisis.

With the coronavirus pandemic putting pressure on health systems globally, the British musician said the Elton John AIDS Foundation would give cash to organisations for solutions to keep HIV and AIDS care up and running.

"Distributing medicines, testing and preventative treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago," Elton John, 73, said in a video from his home in Los Angeles posted on Twitter to announce the initiative.

"So our new COVID-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for and respond to the pandemic and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalised communities."

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While the new coronavirus is not considered a threat to HIV-positive people who are on medication, it could pose a higher risk to those who have weakened immune systems or are unaware of their status, health experts and campaigners have warned.

The singer's non-profit said it would fund solutions for "specific challenges" facing people with or at risk of HIV/AIDS who now face additional threats from coronavirus.

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Hugo Greenhalgh. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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