Elton John has urged his fans to get tested for HIV in a heartfelt open letter published in the Independent.
“37 million people globally are living with HIV. Last year alone, 1.8 million people contracted the virus and 940,000 died of an AIDS-related illness. This need not happen,” the iconic singer wrote.
“Today’s medicines not only enable those living with HIV to have full and fulfilling lives, but also ensure they cannot pass the virus on to others.
“The challenge is that too many people still do not realize they are at risk, are too afraid of the stigma or are denied the chance of taking an HIV test.
“The theme of World Aids Day on Saturday – the 30th year of the international awareness campaign – was ‘know your status’. Why? Because everyone should understand the risks of HIV, and everyone who needs it should have the chance of dignified help and support. That can only happen if we know our status.
“Let’s make HIV testing normal and break the stigma that still surrounds the virus.”