Sir Elton John has said that AIDS could be eradicated worldwide by 2030, depending on who wins the next general election.
The music legend, who works to find innovative HIV prevention methods through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, spoke to MPs on Wednesday (29 November) in Westminster.
Elton, 76, was honoured by the All Party Parliamentary Group in recognition of his commitment to fighting the AIDS epidemic, shortly after the UK government announced a new pilot scheme that will offer tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C to anyone taking a blood test in selected hospital accident and emergency units.
Building on the 34 A&E units that took part in the trial, an additional 46 departments across England will take part in the testing programme.
The trial, which began in April 2024, tested more than 1.4 million blood samples and identified 4,000 people with HIV.
Sir Elton said that news of the testing programme’s success and expansion was “truly wonderful news.”
The “Your Song” singer told MPs: “Automatic testing gets to people earlier, which means less HIV transmission, less illness, less death and by the estimate of health economists, £50m saved for the NHS.
“So, to hear today from the secretary of state that this work will be expanded to every high HIV prevalence area… 46 new accident and emergency departments in local hospitals across England… more than doubling the number of HIV tests, is truly wonderful news.”
Elton went on to tell the government: “Whoever wins the next general election can help to end AIDS worldwide by 2030.
“I implore you not to waste your allotted time as political leaders.”
He continued: “Starting right here at home. In the UK, new HIV diagnoses are down 46 per cent since their peak in 2015.
“We can be the first country in the world to defeat this awful virus. Playing our part, fulfilling the United Nations goal and showing other nations how it’s done.”
The Grammy-winner went on to dare whoever those elected officials may be to do more toward eradicating AIDS, both within the UK and abroad.
“If the Government is serious about ending AIDS, I call on it to fully restore the UK’s commitment, to pledge £1.46 billion pounds this current three-year cycle and ensure the Global Fund is fully financed,” he challenged.
Elton’s comments came just ahead of World AIDS Day, held on 1 December.
Also speaking at the reception for Elton John, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “An incoming Labour government will hit the ground running because we must meet our target of ending new HIV cases in the UK by 2030.
“That’s why the Labour Party will commission an update to the HIV Action Plan as soon as we come to government.”
The UK’s next general election must be held no later than 28 January 2025