'Fund the fight against HIV' urge Sir Elton John and It’s A Sin stars in new campaign

ITV News Correspondent Stacey Foster reports on the celeb-led push to end new cases of HIV in the UK

Sir Elton John and the stars of Channel 4 drama It's a Sin have called on the government to "fund the fight" against HIV and end new cases of the virus in the UK by 2030.

A campaign video - also featuring It's a Sin star and singer Olly Alexander, creator of the show Russell T Davies, and other HIV campaigners - has been released urging action for better support and access to testing.

Sir Elton addresses Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying: "Every week 80 lives in the UK are changed forever because of HIV."

Screenwriter 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."

What is the campaign asking of the government?

- To expand HIV testing to provide free at home testing all year round, as well as in hospitals and GPs

- To properly support people living with HIV around the country

- To invest in HIV prevention, like PrEP

- To urgently tackle the stigma around HIV through education

Alexander adds: "There are still at least 6,600 people who are living with HIV but are not diagnosed."

The Years & Years singer urges ministers: "Do not miss this opportunity. Fund the fight. And take the decisions required to end new cases of HIV by 2030".

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Callum Scott Howells, who stars as Colin Morris-Jones in It’s A Sin, adds: "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."

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body's immune system.

When diagnosed in good time, people living with HIV in the UK can expect to lead long, healthy and fulfilling lives and when on effective treatment cannot transmit the virus.

There is also now a daily pill, PrEP, that can be taken by HIV negative people to preventthem from acquiring the virus.

If HIV is not treated, it can lead to Aids (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Members of the public are being encouraged to write to the chancellor and the health secretary to call for more HIV testing, better support for patients and a focus on preventing new cases.

The campaign film also features Florence, Becky and Ese, who are living with HIV.

The video is a joint project by the Elton John Aids Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust and National Aids Trust.

Olly Alexander after winning the New Drama award for It's A Sin at the National Television Awards 2021 Credit: Ian West/PA

It follows the success of It’s A Sin, a TV series telling the story of a group of young gay men who move to London in the 1980s at the beginning of the HIV/Aids crisis.

The series won the new drama prize at the National Television Awards (NTAs).

More information about how to get involved in the campaign is on the HIV Commission website.