Sir Elton John 'flattered' after Putin calls him following recent hoax by pranksters

Sir Elton John has said he was "flattered" that Vladimir Putin rang him to personally apologise for a hoax call he received from pranksters pretending to be the Russian president.

The singer, who was in London to promote a new HIV/Aids partnership with the US government, said he was looking forward to meeting the Russian leader in person to discuss the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country.

Sir Elton, who was accompanied by his husband, David Furnish, at the event in central London, took a call from President Putin at the end of September.

It came after a hoax call by two pranksters, which prompted the singer, who believed the hoax call to be from Mr Putin, to take to Instagram to say he wanted to discuss the rights of gay people in Russia.

Sir Elton said on Instagram at the time: "Pranks are funny.Homophobia, however is never funny. I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands."

Sir Elton, who has two sons, also backed HIV charities in the UK in demanding that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) be made available on the NHS.

A panel is currently discussing the merits of PrEP, which substantially cuts the risk of people developing the HIV infection, and will make recommendations to the health service.

A UK clinical trial of the drug, which has the brand name Truvada, has shown it reduces the risk of infection by 86% in gay men at risk of HIV.

The drug has proved controversial over suggestions that it may lead the gay community to abandon safe sex using condoms.

Sir Elton said: "We know it works. If the treatment is there, we should take it. I'm sure crystal meth and alcohol are more dangerous in promoting unsafe sexual behaviour."