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Jojo Siwa on Joining Forces With the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Rocket Fund

Jojo Siwa on Joining Forces With the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Rocket Fund

<p>Jojo Siwa on Joining Forces With the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Rocket Fund</p>

The initiative is a $125 million campaign to redouble the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation announced Monday the establishment of the Rocket Fund, a new $125 million campaign and initiative to reignite the conversation around HIV/AIDS, and the multi-hyphenated JoJo Siwa is lending her voice to the program as a youth ambassador.

The Rocket Fund's purpose it to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and to reach the most vulnerable people including young people, LGBTQ+ people, people who use drugs, and other marginalized and impoverished communities that are at higher risk of acquiring HIV. The announcement comes on the anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releasing, in 1981, its first report about what eventually became AIDS epidemic.

"For years, HIV/AIDS has caused enormous pain across the world, but I pray that soon this epidemic will be a thing of the past" said Elton John in a press release. "More than 30 years after I launched the Elton John AIDS Foundation, my passion for reaching everyone, everywhere with education and compassionate care is still as strong as ever. The Rocket Fund will turbo-charge our mission and reach those most at risk from this terrible disease. Now is the time. This epidemic has gone on too long. We must all act together to see AIDS defeated in our lifetimes."

Siwa is a wildly popular dancer, singer, actress, and social media influencer with over 50 million TikTok followers. Her involvement stems from her experience as a young member of the LGBTQ+ community, her personal passion for ending the AIDS epidemic, and her position as a role model for this generation.

“The crazy thing is that before I ever met him, I worshipped Elton John,” Siwa told The Advocate. “I have always respected him so much, and he was such an inspiration. I loved watching him, listening to him sing, and whenever he said anything, I always paid attention and listened. Now to be able to know him, and help his incredible foundation, it just blows my mind.”

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Men who have sex with men are 35 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population, according to the foundation. Transgender women are 14 times more likely. In addition, people who inject drugs are 35 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population. And among young people aged 15-19 globally, AIDS is among the main causes of death. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is the leading cause.

The Rocket Fund will provide support for HIV prevention and treatment services for over 1 million people, according to the organization. That support includes access to HIV tests, antiretroviral therapies, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis treatment for HIV (PrEP).

Siwa explained that HIV/AIDS is not something of the past, and the virus is still relevant, particularly for a younger generation who she said, “don’t know enough about the disease and need to be aware."

The celebrated creative said that "the Rocket Fund, and Elton, will hopefully provide more context and help lessen the awkwardness and stigma around the disease.”

“There is, of course, the medical side to this, and to finding a cure, but I know in my personal life that people are still judgmental [when it comes to HIV/AIDS]. One of my closest friends recently went to be tested, and he was so frightened that he would be positive and so scared about what people would think if they found out he might be," Siwa shared. "Thank God, he's OK. That's the goal for the Rocket Fund: to lessen those worries, work towards a cure, and take away any embarrassment or shame.

Throughout Pride Month, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is encouraging supporters to show off their authentic selves with #InnerElton by posting images with the hashtag in their favorite style — Elton-influenced or not.

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