He’s a music genius in his own right, but it looks like Sir Elton John is taking a cue from fellow musical legends the Beatles when it comes to combating AIDS: all you need is love.
Speaking at the AIDS 2012 International Conference in Washington DC, John addressed the global AIDS epidemic and the US’s role in providing relief to developing nations, saying compassion and love fuels research efforts into the terminal illness.
“Maybe you think I’m naive,” John said. ”Maybe you think I’m off my rocker. Here I am telling an audience of 7,000 global health experts that you can end AIDS with love. [But] thanks to all this compassion, all this love, more than 8 million people are on treatment … Thanks to people who have chosen to act, who have chosen to care, we can see an end to this epidemic, but it’s going to take a lot more compassion to get us there, a hell of a lot more.”
John acknowledged that stigma and shame are common, debilitating barriers to testing and treatment, in spite of their relative ease and accessibility. ”We have inexpensive and accurate take-home tests for HIV,” John said. “But we can’t convince people to get tested if they think their lives don’t count … Millions of people around the world feel ashamed because of who they are. They feel subhuman, worthless, like they don’t matter at all.”
He referenced his own experiences when recovering from cocaine addiction, saying “I felt that shame before and it almost killed me. It’s killing people all around the world. We have to replace the stigma with compassion.”