Elton John To Congress: HIV Stigma Is Still The Greatest Threat To Stopping AIDS
Music legend and advocate Elton John said the stigma of persons infected by HIV/AIDS, particularly in the LGBT community, is the greatest threat to fighting — and one day stopping — the disease. Sir John told a Senate Appropriations panel that some African societies marginalize or penalize gay members of their communities, hampering efforts to keep those with HIV/AIDS from gaining much-needed drugs. “They go underground, and the disease is spread even further,” he told the foreign operations subcommittee chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican. He struck a religious stance, too, saying Jesus “would be appalled at the way people are being stigmatized” and credited Pope Francis with preaching compassion. Sir John appeared before Congress to testify in support of a global-health fund that fights poverty and diseases like AIDS and malaria abroad.The moment seen above with fellow testifier Pastor Rick Warren came as cameras flashed while the pair took their seats. Warren then joked that if he and Elton were to kiss at that moment, "It would be the kiss heard 'round the world." Elton's opening statement is below. In the second clip, Warren digresses from HIV/AIDS funding to lecture the committee on religious liberty.