Sir Elton John has pledged a million dollars (£815,000) for the fight against HIV/Aids to ensure sufferers are not “forgotten” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sir Elton said he is working with his Aids Foundation and the new funds would be available in the “next few months”.
Appearing on Miley Cyrus’s Bright Minded live-stream on Instagram, he warned of HIV/Aids sufferers being hit with a “double whammy” as health services around the globe struggle to cope with coronavirus.
Sir Elton, who is self-isolating in Los Angeles with his husband David Furnish and the couple’s two sons, said: “I’m going to stick to my guns with the Aids Foundation and make sure because of this global pandemic that’s happening that the people who are suffering from another global pandemic don’t get forgotten.”
The 73-year-old added: “That’s what my foundation has tried to do, help the marginalised, help the poor, help the people who mustn’t get left behind. That is my main focus in the next three months, to make sure these people on the HIV and Aids lifeline we give them, don’t get forgotten.”
Sir Elton, who on Thursday was one of an array of celebrities to take part in an online video supporting the NHS, praised health workers around the world for doing their jobs “so brilliantly”.
“They can only do so much, so we have to step up,” he said.
Discussing how he is coping with the pandemic, he told US pop star Cyrus, 27, supporting each other is key.
“Calling people is really important to make sure they’re OK,” he said.
“Especially people who are vulnerable to this disease, more elderly people. And it doesn’t seem to have any age group now, everyone is getting infected. But people who are a certain age need to be called and make sure they’re OK.”
Sir Elton and Cyrus also admitted celebrities are in a privileged position during the pandemic, with the Rocketman singer saying “we have no idea” of what frontline workers go through.
He said: “We are a well-off people, we have no idea. We see images and we see postings by people who are working on the front line. We really don’t have any idea what these people are going through. They’re going through hell.”
Sir Elton was appearing on Bright Minded, a series started by Cyrus to help fans through the pandemic.
It has attracted star names including Demi Lovato, Hailey Bieber and Rita Ora.
Friday’s episode will be the last for the immediate future, although Cyrus insists it is not the end.
She said she needs time to “process everything that is happening”.