Sir Elton John has made an impassioned plea to raise awareness of the fight against HIV and AIDS for World AIDS Day.
The 'I'm Still Standing' hitmaker penned a blog post for AidsAlliance.org, where he detailed how the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief had teamed up to help keep HIV clinics open across the world.
He shared: "For World AIDS Day 2016, we are proud to celebrate its first successes. To date it has issued 24 grants in nine countries through small grants, keeping HIV clinics open and protecting the brave LGBT activists that run them.
"This work is badly needed. In a short space of time, the Fund received more than 235 applications. Each request makes horribly clear just how much LGBT human rights abuses serve as a barrier to ending AIDS. Now more than ever it's time for government leaders and philanthropists to join efforts to overcome the anti-LGBT stigma, discrimination and violence that is making the HIV epidemic worse.
"The Rapid Response Fund is a unique public-private partnership that does just this. We hope to be an example of new approaches to ensuring LGBT people are healthy in the face of adversity. I am grateful to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (PEPFAR) for their passion and their partnership in this effort. I hope you enjoy reading about the impact we can have this way."
And the 69-year-old singer also opened up about how "many LGBT people are too afraid to go to hospitals and clinics" as they are worried about being discriminated.
In a blog post, he wrote: "Stigma, discrimination and violence mean many LGBT people are too afraid to go to hospitals and clinics, because when they do they face discrimination. More than this, health services for LGBT people are raided by the police and LGBT organisations face severe political pressure.
"Just a few weeks ago, the Tanzanian government banned HIV services for MSM people including the provision of life-saving lubricants. We need to respond to this ... That's why the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) joined forces with the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to set up the LGBT Rapid Response Fund. It aims to support LGBT people in jeopardy, ensuring access to health services."
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