Singer Elton John said Monday the world needs more love in order to end the AIDS epidemic, which has killed about 30 million people around the world since it first emerged in the 1980s.
“We need more than money. We need more than medicine. We need love,” John told the International AIDS Conference in Washington, the largest meeting of experts on HIV/AIDS in the world.
“What we need now is more love for the living,” he said, recounting his younger years as a troubled drug addict and a gay man struggling for acceptance, and lamenting the discrimination that continues in many parts of the world.
“There are some people who look at the sick and look for reasons to blame them,” he said, adding that fear of isolation often prevents people from seeking testing and treatment.
Shame and stigma are “killing people all round the world right now,” he said.
The singer also applauded the United States for its funding of AIDS treatment programs worldwide, but denounced its inability to stop a raging epidemic in the U.S. capital where infection rates among black men are surging.
“If this country wanted to end AIDS at home it could do so in a heartbeat,” he said to rousing applause from the audience.
The International AIDS Conference is held every two years and has returned to the United States for the first time since 1990, after the government lifted restrictions on travel by HIV-positive people.
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