Sir Elton John is fighting back against the coronavirus pandemic. The Rocket Man singer announced Saturday that his Elton John Aids Foundation has launched a $1 million (£815,000) COVID-19 emergency fund to protect individuals with HIV. This fund is for HIV medicines, testing and preventive treatment in marginalised communities.
Battle Against Coronavirus
Sir Elton John stated that the fund would help the foundation’s workers who are the frontline respond properly. He stated that it will help people living with HIV and help them respond to the effects of COVID-19.
In a video shared on social media, the pop legend said, “For almost 30 years, my foundation has prioritised the most vulnerable people to HIV to end the AIDS epidemic, and we’re committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too.”
Furthermore, he stated “Distributing medicines, testing, and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago. 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. We must keep up momentum otherwise the effects could be disastrous for people living with HIV and other infectious diseases.”
He finally added, “We are with you, we are thinking of you, and we will not leave anyone behind.”
Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world. pic.twitter.com/g4wh9dnd3d
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 4, 2020
In another tweet, he said:
Now and always, I’m committed to not leave anyone affected by HIV behind. Visit http://www.ejaf.org/covid19 for more info. Sending love to all of our Foundation’s partners, grantees, supporters, frontline workers and members of our community during this time. Elton x
Elton John and charity
Sir Elton John is no stranger to charity. He has fought against AIDS/HIV and is probably the best-known advocate on the planet in the cause. He started his nonprofit 25 years ago as the epidemic was bursting into the world’s consciousness. John’s foundation has since raised more than $400 million. He talked about this in an interview with the Chronicle and said:
When I started the charity, the world was a different place. It was not OK to be gay in much of the world. This fact alone influenced how we approached the HIV/AIDS crisis, not only in terms of the science but our understanding of how to end the epidemic.
If you’re going to be persecuted for being open about who you are, you’re a lot less likely to seek treatment or advocate for your health or that of your partners. We’ve made so much progress. Which is why the global goal to end AIDS by 2030 is even possible. It’s still ambitious, but it’s achievable. I’m more motivated than ever to see it happen.
He also talked about the challenges he has had to face:
The toughest part is that people, and especially the media, want to focus as much on celebrity aspects as they do on the issues. When I’m spending time fighting AIDS, it’s serious work.
It’s not about me, it’s about the millions of people living with AIDS. And it’s about what we can do. I wish more attention would get paid to the impact of making medication available to everyone who needs it.
I want to hear more stories about how changing laws and attitudes about homosexuality has allowed more people to come forward for testing and treatment. That’s how change happens. But when I talk about the importance of this work, I don’t always get asked the right questions.
Living room benefit concert
Just a week before the coronavirus fund announcement, Sir Elton John had hosted a living room concert. The British pop legend hosted the iHeart Living Room Concert For America from his home in Los Angeles. This online festival featured performances from Billie Eilish, Dave Grohl and Mariah Carey. It raised funds for two US charities.
On the live stream, Sir Elton John admitted that the house that he was in was the only one without a piano. This didn’t stop him, however, as the Rocketman dug out his son’s keyboard for a rendition of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. He also serenaded Lizzo with an acapella snippet of her track Juice.
— FOX (@FOXTV) March 30, 2020
Talking about the situation, he said;
“Not long ago, there was another infectious disease that was ignored. Day in and day out, the disease got worse, because we did nothing. Too many forgot about compassion and decency, and so millions and millions of people perished from Aids. But this time, we aren’t going to let that happen. So, stay home for the ones you love.”
The star faced some criticised online afterwards, however, for comparing the COVID-19 pandemic with the spread of Aids in the 1980s and 90s.
Nonetheless, the living room concert had good intentions behind it and it worked.