Sir Elton John is continuing his fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS, and he wants your help.
As part of a fundraising effort for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, John is inviting 400,000 people to his annual Oscars viewing party featuring a virtual pre-show with Neil Patrick Harris and Dua Lipa, according to the AP.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation’s annual Academy Awards event typically features an exclusive guest list of musicians and celebrities to encourage donations to the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year, John has decided to make his event virtual so that people from around the world can join by purchasing a ticket for $19.99, which will benefit the foundation’s work.
Thirty-eight million people around the world were living with HIV in 2019, according to the most recent data from UNAIDS. Almost 1 million people die from AIDS each year, which is why it is considered a major global public health issue that must be addressed through increased funding, resources, and public information.
Elton John’s AIDS Foundation was founded in 1992 to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and fund research to end the global epidemic. While receiving the 2020 Global Citizen Prize for Artist of the Year last December, John talked about the regret he felt about not doing more during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
“I should have marched, I should have been much more political than I was. So many of my friends died, so many of my friends still had HIV and AIDS,” John said. “When I got sober in 1990, I realized I wanted to make a difference not just got for gay people, but for everybody. So I decided from my kitchen table in Atlanta to set up the organization.”
In addition to his work to end HIV/AIDS, John has been a staunch supporter of Global Citizen’s efforts to demand equity, end poverty, and aid global health initiatives. As part of the One World: Together At Home broadcast event in April 2020, which saw musicians gather to support frontline health care workers and the World Health Organization (WHO), John performed his hit song "I’m Still Standing" from his driveway.
"This is for everyone out there who’s been working on the front line 24/7," he said. "Thank you for all your expertise, your love, your care, your humanity."
Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic in an Instagram post announcing his Oscars pre-show, John stressed the importance of remembering the millions affected by HIV/AIDS and urged people “to ensure that one pandemic does not override another.”
The 29th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards event will be hosted across four different time zones on April 25 by Neil Patrick Harris, along with Elton John and his husband, David Furnish. Three-time Grammy award-winning musician Dua Lipa is set to give a musical performance during the virtual event. Tickets are available for purchase via Ticketmaster.