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Sir Elton John addressed the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington this week with the message that everybody with the disease deserves love and care.

“By all rights I shouldn’t be here today,” he said during his keynote speech. "I should be dead – six foot under in a wooden box. I should have contracted HIV in the 1980s and died in the 1990s, just like Freddie Mercury, just like Rock Hudson. Every day I wonder, how did I survive?

“Everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone, everyone, everyone deserves love. Why am I telling you this? Because the AIDS disease is caused by a virus, but the AIDS epidemic is not. The AIDS epidemic is fuelled by stigma, violence and indifference.

“America has shown so much love for those living with HIV and those living in the developing world. If this country wanted to end HIV infections at home it could do so in a heartbeat. All it takes is a bit more funding and a bit more understanding. All it takes is dialogue.

“Maybe you think I’m a bit naive. Maybe you think I’m off my rocker. But even if your dreams come true, even if we had a vaccine it is not enough … Science can stop the disease, but science alone can’t end the plague.”

Sir Elton recently released a book, Love Is The Cure, conveying the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life and how this loss has strengthened his determination to stop the spread of the disease. Find out more here.

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