AIDS Foundation recognizes Mercury’s influence in the fight against HIV

dpa
London. On the 30th anniversary of his death, the British AIDS Foundation is paying tribute to Freddie Mercury for his fight against the stigmatization of AIDS sufferers. The Queen front man died in 1991 after suffering from pneumonia.

On the 30th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, the British AIDS Foundation honored the legendary singer from the rock band Queen as an important figure in the fight against the HIV virus.

“Freddie Mercury really left a lasting legacy,” said National AIDS Trust chief Deborah Gold of the PA news agency. “He is one of a small number of people who are really well known internationally, and so his death had a big impact back then.”

Mercury died on November 24, 1991 at the age of 45 of complications from pneumonia – the day after he had made his HIV infection and AIDS illness public.

Together with Princess Diana, who died in an accident in 1997, and the Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, the charismatic frontman has a strong influence in the fight against the stigmatization of AIDS sufferers, said Gold. She recalled Diana’s hospital visits, during which the Queen’s daughter-in-law hugged AIDS patients, as well as the openness of rugby player Thomas, who had reported his illness in 2019. Such moments are important to remind people that the AIDS virus, HIV, is still there and what needs to be done to protect themselves, said the chairwoman of the AIDS foundation.

Gold also praised the work of The Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity founded by Mercury’s bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor and manager Jim Beach to fund education projects in developing countries.

The UK government has announced that it will stop the spread of HIV by 2030. Gold welcomed the venture, but said it would require significantly more investment to get HIV testing done in more locations and to reach more people. “It is true that with just a fraction of the investment we have put into the coronavirus, we could make great strides in the fight against HIV,” said Gold.

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