SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Sir Elton John calls on U.K., U.S. to recommit to Global Fund

Sir Elton John called on the U.K. government on Tuesday to double its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Sir Elton is the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He also asked the U.S. government to renew its commitment to the Global Fund in an open letter to Congress.

"We find ourselves with the historic opportunity to create the AIDS free future laid out in the (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) blueprint; an opportunity that seizes the science and leaves no one behind," Sir Elton said. "We have made great strides, and with sustained and strategic investment, we can finish the job."

The Global Fund provides funding to countries for programs that treat, prevent and care for people with malaria, TB, HIV and AIDS. Since 2002, the Global Fund supported more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. The programs provided 310 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.7 million people and AIDS treatment for 4.2 million people.

"I respectfully urge the U.S. Congress to appropriate $1.65 billion for the Global Fund in (Fiscal Year 2014) as you did in FY13, and to restore the vitally important PEPFAR bilateral program to its FY12 level," Sir Elton said. "I know that while U.S. leadership and leverage in the global fight against AIDS is unique and indispensable, other governments, corporations, foundations (such as my own), multilateral and faith-based institutions, and people from all walks of life must all do their part to end AIDS."

Sir Elton also urged the U.K. government to double its contribution to the fund and praised several countries for investing in their own HIV prevention and treatment plans.

"Last week I urged my own U.K. government to double its Global Fund contribution, providing one billion pounds ($1.57 billion) over the next three years, and hope they will take action," Sir Elton said. "I also commend the governments of South Africa, Namibia and Kenya for increasing their own investments in HIV prevention and treatment and urge other African nations to do the same."

Since 1992, the EJAF raised more than $300 million for HIV/AIDS programs throughout the world.