Elton John creates new HIV fund in memory of dance legend Frankie Knuckles

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Sir Elton John has launched a new HIV fund for the black community in memory of Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles who died last month.

“Frankie was such a lovely man and a great talent,” Sir Elton said. “And his legacy provides a powerful voice to reach out to people, particularly men of colour, about their essential role in helping to create an AIDS-free future.”

“It is our goal, in Frankie’s name, to make sure they are aware of the risks of HIV and so access information, testing and treatment to protect themselves and others,” added Anne Aslett, Executive Director of the UK Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Black men remain at increased risk of HIV.

They are 40% more likely than white men to be diagnosed late and are less likely to test for the virus compared to gay and bisexual men.

A study published in March showed Atlanta has one of the highest concentrations of young black gay men living with HIV in the US.

The research showed black men who have sex with men (BMSM) are 3.8 times more likely to acquire HIV compared with their white male counterparts.

Atlanta’s Emory School of Public Health, which carried out the study, said a lack of health insurance and solely having sexual partners from the black community could explain the disparity.

Levels of increased unemployment and incarceration were also factors.

The Frankie Knuckles Fund will benefit black men living in the UK, US and across Africa.

Knuckles was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996.

Fans who paid tribute to him last month following his death included US President Barack Obama, who previously met the DJ during his time as a state senator in Illinois.

Known as the “Godfather of House”, Knuckles pioneered a style of underground music in the late 80s which became the soundtrack of gay clubbing, and then mainstream throughout the world.

The DJ died of Type II diabetes-related complications in Chicago on 31 March, aged 59.