Elton John has teamed up with the stars of It’s A Sin and other campaigners in calling on the UK government to end new HIV cases by 2030.
Released by the Elton John Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust, the campaign urges Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid to “fund the fight” and “change countless lives”.
“Every week 80 lives in the UK are changed forever because of HIV,” says Elton, to which It’s A Sin creator and writer Russell T. Davies adds: “Despite huge medical advances meaning HIV is now far from a death sentence preventable cases are still happening. It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m asking you to seize this once in a generation opportunity to change countless lives.”
Years & Years star Olly Alexander, who plays the lead role of Ritchie Tozer in the critically-acclaimed Channel 4 drama, says: “There are at least 6,600 people who are living with HIV but are not diagnosed. I urge the government: do not miss this opportunity. Fund the fight. Take the decisions required to end new cases of HIV by 2030.”
The star behind Colin Morris Jones in It’s A Sin, Callum Scott Howells, continues: “This government promised to build back better after the Covid-19 pandemic. Now is the time to do this in the fight to end HIV.”
The video, which also features Florence, Becky and Ese, who are living with HIV, then urges the UK government to expand testing, provide better support for patients living with the chronic condition and focus on preventing new cases.
The campaign arrives after 35 organisations, including the Elton John Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust, signed a letter to Sunak and Javid, highlighting that it’s “almost 1000 days” since the government committed to ending the UK’s HIV epidemic.
“Millions of people in the UK watched Channel 4’s drama It’s A Sin, seeing the agonising destruction HIV/AIDS caused on so many lives in the early days of the epidemic,” the letter states.
“This show galvanised thousands of people to test for HIV – many for the first time – and to urge political action to end new cases of HIV within the decade. Now the government needs to play its part.
NEW. Today It’s A Sin’s @alexander_olly, @callumshowells and Russell T Davies are joining @eltonofficial and people living with HIV to call on Chancellor @rishisunak to ‘fund the fight’ to end new HIV cases by 2030.
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) October 13, 2021
“Action now will have huge impact and put the country on course to end transmissions by the end of the decade. History will look kindly on the leadership and financial commitment that was made to fight to end new cases in this way.
“As the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also committed to the 2030 HIV goal, it’s vital an uplift in funding is made available so progress can be felt in each part of the UK.
“We urge the government not to miss this opportunity. Fund the fight and take the decisions required to end new cases of HIV by 2030 and fully support people living with HIV.”
It’s A Sin follows a group of friends in 1980s London who grow up in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Upon release, the series received praise for its powerful storytelling, incredible cast, and bringing LGBTQ+ history to a mainstream audience.
The drama, which coincided with HIV Testing Week, proved to have a remarkable impact on viewers, with Terrence Higgins Trust announcing that 8,200 HIV tests were ordered in one day – smashing their previous daily record of 2,800.