Sexual health nurse meets Sir Elton John at AIDS Conference

St Helens Hospital speciality lead nurse for sexual health Gary Barker met with the star at conference in South Africa 

A sexual health nurse joined Sir Elton John and Prince Harry at a conference in South Africa to raise awareness of HIV/Aids.

Sir Elton John and Gary Barker

Gary Barker, speciality lead nurse for sexual health at St Helens Hospital, Merseyside, met with Sir Elton at the International AIDS Conference last week.


Mr Barker said: ‘The conference focused on the need for stigmas attached to HIV to be discarded.

‘Sir Elton and Prince Harry spoke passionately about raising awareness, battling discrimination and the importance of keeping HIV in the headlines.

‘It was an honour to attend the conference, and meeting Sir Elton was a moment I’ll never forget.’

The latest data from Public Health England shows that, in 2014, there were an estimated 103,700 people with the condition in the UK, with 17% unaware of their HIV status.

In 2014, almost 85,500 people accessed HIV treatment and care – more than double the number (42,157) in 2004.


Prince Harry has been credited with spearheading a surge in people requesting a new self-testing HIV kit after a live feed of him taking a test on the Royal Family’s Facebook page earlier in July was viewed more than two million times.

The Terrence Higgins Trust said it had seen a five-fold increase seen in requests for self-testing kits offered as part of a pilot program.


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