Elton John Pens Op-Ed On AIDS Fight


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Elton John wrote an op-ed for Billboard on "tirelessly fighting AIDS through his foundation." The piece appears in Billboard's first philanthropy issue, out this week.

In the piece, John talks about the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and realizing that his speaking about the subject was not enough to help, which led to him creating the Elton John AIDS Foundation in the United States. He would start it in the United Kingdom the following year.

"We weren’t looking for a cure -- we simply wanted to help people, provide care and support and comfort, and fight the injustices faced by those living with HIV/AIDS," John writes. "Most of all, we wanted them to know they mattered and that someone cared."

He goes on to taLk about how far the world has come in getting AIDS under control. For example, while it was once the number one cause of death for men between the ages 25 and 44 in the United States, it's "no longer a death sentence."

"But we have so much work left to do. There are too many people who lack access to critical treatment and prevention programs," he writes. "There is still a dangerous lack of compassion for those living with HIV and those at risk of contracting it. As a result, there is a lack of social services and sexual health education, especially in minority, rural and gay communities. But despite all these challenges, I truly believe that we have the power to achieve an AIDS-free generation, because I’ve seen with my own eyes the incredible progress we’ve made during the past three decades. I never thought we’d get this far, this close to ending the epidemic. And my greatest hope is to live to see the day when we win the fight once and for all."

A few weeks ago, the Elton John AIDS Foundation released its annual report detailing its grantmaking, programmatic, fundraising, and communications achievements for 2014. This includes an introduction by Elton John himself.