Sir Elton John was one of the more than 70 celebrities who urged world leaders to tackle poverty by addressing gender inequality, adding his name to an open letter to government today to mark International Women’s Day earlier this month.

The letter calls for more funding to help girls and women fight HIV and malnutrition ahead of two summits – Nutrition For Growth and Global Fund – this year.

Among the other celebrities to sign the letter were Oprah, Emma Watson, Hozier, Bono, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Zuckerberg, Meryl Streep, Mary J. Blige, Muhammad Ali, Padma Lakshmi, Patricia Arquette, Robert Redford, Tina Fey and many more.

The group said figures suggesting girls account for three-quarters of new HIV infections and 40% of women in Africa suffer anaemia were an “outrage”.

Sir Elton, Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, said the numbers of young girls affected was “heartbreaking”.

“Three out of every four adolescents in Africa who contract HIV are girls, and on average, young women who contract HIV will do so five to seven years earlier than men. It’s heartbreaking. Stopping the spread of HIV will mean doing more to protect girls and young women. The Global Fund is doing powerful work helping treat and prevent AIDS and deserves expanded support from world leaders. We have the chance to stop HIV/AIDS in our lifetime, and we need to raise our voices now to make sure it happens." said Elton.

To read the letter and find out more, click here.

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