Elton John in tirade over Aids stigma

2011-12-02 15:44
Sydney - British pop superstar Elton John has branded those who continue to stigmatise Aids as "fascists and idiots", and called on governments to keep funding the fight against the disease.

John, in Sydney to mark World Aids Day, said the battle was being won but warned it would be a mistake for governments to let their guard down, with UN figures showing some 34 million people living with HIV/Aids in 2010.

"We've got this disease really by the scruff of the neck," he told a crowd at Circular Quay late on Thursday, Australian Associated Press reported.

"But we cannot loosen that grip we have on it. If governments start backing out and stop funding, then the epidemic will start to balloon again."

John, who is married to his male partner David Furnish, said the world needed to "fight a new war, to get the funding necessary to actually kill the disease once and for all".

But this would not happen unless stigmatism around HIV/Aids was dealt with.

"If we can de-stigmatise this disease once and for all, we are really going to beat this disease," he said.

'Not a faggots' disease'

"This is not a faggots' disease anymore. This is a worldwide disease that affects everybody.

"Let's get rid of this disgusting stigma and get these people who are such fascists, such idiots, to understand that people have a right to live with dignity."

The singer is passionate about fighting Aids and in 1992 set up the Elton John Aids Foundation, which supports HIV prevention programmes and efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination.

It has raised more than $200m since its inception.

John is in Australia as pressure increases on the ruling Labor party to reverse a national ban on same-sex marriages and he encouraged the government to change the law.

"People have a right to live a right to live with dignity. We're all treated equal and it is about time Australians got the same-sex marriage together as well," he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard personally opposes same-sex marriage, but her centre-left Labor party is being urged to reverse the ban when it debates policy changes at its party conference this weekend.


  • Deon - 2011-12-02 16:29

    We still seems to be struggling to halt HIV & Aids in SA, much more dangerous than possible climate change. Many TB deaths are HIV +.

  • rudie.stoltz - 2011-12-02 17:04

    Yes well you two. The world is going to enter a deep recession. So believe me they will cut the funding on the dying to support the living. Sorry thats just the reality that we all will have to face. The main point being that theres no money to fund.

  • aiazmir - 2011-12-02 17:44

    There is a conundrum about his statement. If Aids is to be normalized, then it should be treated like any other illness. "Have a headache then take this pill!" As long as Aids is highlighted as something extraordinary, and as long as endless number of people are making special appeals for funds from governments (who are actually us the voters and taxpayers) this illness will be stigmatized. "Broken a leg, Charlie? Maybe we should have Elton John make a "special" appeal to fund people with broken legs and say what a terrible thing it is, and the world should create a special cause for those with broken legs. {Charlie's response}, "It's just a broken leg you idiot". "Well you fool if you continue with a broken leg it could cause a horrible accident and then millions of people coule die." I am not trying minimize the problem for people who have Aids, but if I broke my legs and had a roomful of cameramen and reporters around me, I just may be a bit intimidates.

  • aiazmir - 2011-12-02 17:48

    I have friends who have Aids.I have friends with Alzheimers disease. I have friends with cancer. The only ones who are intimidated about disclosure of their illness are my friends who have Aids. Why?

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