Sir Elton John has slammed countries who discriminate against their LGBTQ citizens, saying that they are part of the reason why it is taking so long to eliminate HIV/AIDS.
The British singer-songwriter was speaking at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, where he launched the MenStar Coalition – a group of organisations teaming up together in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Sir Elton spoke out against the homophobic attitudes present in Russia and Eastern Europe, and said that their poor treatment of LGBTQ people is hindering vital HIV/AIDS research.
“If there wasn’t this bigotry and hatred, then this disease could be eliminated far quicker than you could ever think,” Sir Elton said.
“Basically what it comes down to is that these countries are discriminating very badly against LGBT people. And it’s holding us back, and until we can get that … idea out of our heads that gay people are lesser, then I’m afraid we will still be sitting here in 20 years discussing the same thing.”
Elton also vocalised his concerns of the rapidly rising rate of new HIV infections amongst younger generations, saying that it’s an issue that needs urgent attention.
“Young people are the only age group where HIV infections are rising, not falling,” he said.
“We have to do much, much more to bring men, especially younger men, more fully into the fold.”
However, the music icon had a warning for political bodies out there who are starting to cut funding on HIV/AIDS research, delaying the possibility of finally finding a cure.
“This is the first disease which could be cured in my lifetime. Politicians need to step up to the plate,” he said.
“They can end this disease so quickly … please, please think of human beings as being equal. As being one race of people, and not dividing them up into sub-texts.”
Earlier this year, Sir Elton called on the tech giants for help in breaking down the stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation, meanwhile, have raised more than £298 million for the fight against HIV since they were first founded in 1992.