David Furnish, the elegant Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and husband to Sir Elton John, gave Queerty contributor Mark S. King an exclusive video interview at AIDS2018 in Amsterdam to discuss how the Foundation has changed the landscape of HIV services around the world. He also weighs in on PrEP, the “U=U” phenomenon, and the importance of younger activists understanding their HIV/AIDS history.
Regarding the controversy over whether or not the international conference should cancel its plans to hold the 2020 event in San Francisco, considering how inhospitable the USA has become toward immigrants, sex workers, and LGBT people – in other words, the very key populations who are affected by HIV/AIDS – David remained cautiously politic about wading into the growing firestorm over the location of the next conference.
“Elton and I are not Americans, so it’s difficult for us to get directly involved in American politics,” David said, before adding an enormous caveat. “However, we are watching the situation closely. If we see changes to LGBT status in America, if we see cutbacks and denial of access to health care, all the building blocks, affordable medicines, all the things that allow us to get success and make the gains that we do, then we have to speak up.” (Follow #AIDS2020forAll to see news and updates from activist groups working to move the next conference out of San Francisco.)
The Elton John AIDS Foundation is behind some of the most innovative and provocative funding in the HIV arena today.