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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 44
DAVID FURNISH'S ACCEPTANCE REMARKS
Section One
ALL STORIES
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DAVID FURNISH'S ACCEPTANCE REMARKS

Thank you so much to our friend Ambassador Young for that wonderful introduction.

Let me express our sincere thanks, from the bottom of our hearts, for this wonderful honor.

Elton and I would like to dedicate this award to someone very special, someone who gave us what no one else could: two beautiful sons.

Zachary and Elijah have made us happier than any painting, hit single, or award ever could.

So we dedicate this honor to the surrogate mother of our children. She made it possible for us to have a family. And we love and treasure our family beyond all else.

Our commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic began long before the profound gift of our little sons changed our lives so fundamentally.

But now we want more than just an AIDS-free world for them.

We also want a world that is much more compassionate, accepting, and understanding, because that is truly the only way we will end AIDS.

Consider our work at the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Most of what we do is fight against homophobia, bigotry, ignorance, and stigma. We have come to realize that what perpetuates the HIV epidemic isn't a virus: it's a lack of compassion.

Science has come a long way. But pills, shots, and studies are powerless against hate and stigma.

If a young Gay man won't get tested because he's afraid of the stigma attached to HIV, that's how the virus spreads.

If a former prisoner can't get the medicine she needs to bring her viral levels down, because no one cares about prisoners, that's how HIV spreads.

If a drug user won't bother with rehabilitation or HIV prevention because he has been told time and again that his life is worthless, that is how HIV spreads.

The hard question we must ask ourselves is: In a time when we have so many ways to prevent the spread of AIDS, why are transmission rates only increasing in our communities?

Ending the AIDS epidemic has as much to do with ending stigma as it does with advancing science.

Lack of compassion for others is a learned behavior - as is love.

We are either brought up to be compassionate, understanding, and loving, or we are taught bigotry and prejudice.

So the fight against HIV starts with us.

It starts with families that teach their children how to care, how to love, how to be compassionate.

It starts with communities that reach out with love and compassion to ALL who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, addiction, and discrimination.

It starts with empowering people to speak out for their rights to health and economic equality.

Because we still have a long way to go.

About 50,000 people in the United States still get infected with HIV every year. We can't stop until that number is zero.

And we can get there with the help of everyone in this room. You are on the forefront of the campaign for compassion. You will end the HIV epidemic.

So thank you for your work, thank you for spreading love, and thank you again for this honor.

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Sir Elton John challenges LGBT community to refocus on AIDS
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DAVID FURNISH'S ACCEPTANCE REMARKS
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SIR ELTON JOHN'S ACCEPTANCE REMARKS
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