5 celebrities who famously use their powerful platform to tackle the stigma against STIs


Brits are notoriously shy when it comes to attitudes about sex, and sexual health. In fact, a recent study found that more than half of Brits (52%) are reluctant to talk about their sex life – the highest percentage in Europe.

Yet our unwillingness to talk about sexual health could be the reason why the UK has some of the highest numbers of STIs in Europe.

However, while figures for STIs remain at an all time high, some celebrity figures are using their powerful platform to help raise awareness on certain taboo topics to try and enforce change.

Below, the team at Manual have listed some of the most influential celebrities who have spoken out about STIs to help raise awareness, prevent the spread and eliminate the stigma.

Olly Alexander

Also known musically as Years & Years, Olly Alexander is a prominent figure who uses his platform to raise awareness of HIV, through highlighting the importance of STI testing and the charities available to those affected.

Olly starred in the 2021 drama series “It’s a Sin”, which depicts the lives of a group of gay men living through the 1980s amid the HIV/AIDS crisis. Since the show, he has continued to discuss the advances of science in technology, and the part they’ve played in the ‘amazing progress’ of tackling HIV/AIDS since the 80s.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry has said he is determined to continue his mum’s “unfinished” work in eradicating the stigma around HIV.

In 2016 he took a HIV test in Barbados to raise awareness on World Aids Day and encouraged Barbadian born musician and beauty mogul Rihanna to take part in a bid to reach her global fan base.

More recently, during National HIV Testing Week the Prince encouraged the public to “know their status” and get tested, following the news that figures for HIV diagnoses among hetrosexuals is higher than for gay and bisexual men in England for the first time in 10 years.


Rihanna has done a lot of campaigning to raise awareness about STIs, in particular HIV/AIDS.

In 2014, Rihanna became an ambassador for MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam campaign to raise money for the “MAC AIDS Fund” which supports people directly affected by HIV/AIDS. The campaign raised over $50 million for the fund.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is extremely vocal in raising awareness about the risk of HIV/AIDS, particularly among women. The star has reminded women to always carry condoms on multiple occasions, through social media and interviews.

The 12-time Grammy winner has also fronted a MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam campaign, alongside fellow recording artist Cyndi Lauper, to raise funds for the “MAC AIDS Fund” which raised over $160 million.

The singers wanted the campaign to remind women that the virus which causes AIDS remains a strong threat to women who shouldn’t overlook their risk of HIV.

Elton John

Elton John has opened up about his personal battle with HIV, stating that the stigma against the disease almost killed him and that he’s lucky to have escaped the crisis in the 80s.

In 1992, Sir Elton established the “Elton John AIDS Foundation” (EJAF) to help prevent the devastation the disease causes around the world. To raise money for the foundation, the star hosts an annual “White Tie and Tiara” ball for hundreds of celebrities and guests.

The foundation has raised over $125 million to support charities and programs in 55 countries around the world, providing prevention and education.

With that being said, the team at Manual have also researched the most common STIs within the UK in 2020 for both men and women.

Chlamydia came out on top as the most common STI among men and women in England in 2020, with 70,581 reported cases for men and 88,674 for women.

Gonorrhoea was the second most common STI for women in 2020 with 25,509 reported cases, followed by herpes with 13,094.

For men, gonorrhoea also appeared to be the second most common STI with 40,743 cases, followed by genital warts with 15,636 cases.

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