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Elton John at AIDS conference: ‘I should be dead’

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: July 23, 2012 - 5:18 PM

Elton John says he should be dead because of his self-destructive lifestyle decades ago. “By all rights, I shouldn’t be here today,” he told the International AIDS conference.

But, he said, people including strangers showed him compassion as he battled drug addiction and came to terms with his sexuality. He said he’s been sober for 22 years and has a loving partner and son.

John said he believes people with AIDS deserve the same love, compassion, respect and understanding he received when he “hit rock bottom.” “We have to replace the shame with love,” he told the audience. “We have to replace the stigma with compassion. No one should be left behind.”

John, who set up a foundation to fight the disease, said prevention, treatment, clinical research and a vaccine also are needed to end the epidemic. “All it takes is a bit more funding and a bit more understanding,” he said. “All it takes is dialogue and the power of words to change actions.” --ASSOCIATED PRESS

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