Wednesday, May 20, 2009

3,000 BIO Attendees Hear Elton John Speak on HIV/AIDS

Sir Elton John gave a moving keynote speech yesterday speech at the 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta. He spoke about the critical need for advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS asking the biotech industry to confront the reality of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, saying, “It is not just governments that must confront the realities of the AIDS epidemic. It is all of us. With all due respect, it is the people in this very room.”

Elton John might have been wearing rose-tinted glasses, but his speech was anything but rosy. Despite medical advances, John told the hundreds of biosciences executives that HIV/AIDS "is still winning."

“It continues to devastate populations in the developing world,” John said. “But the epidemic is also worse than we thought in this very city and in this very country -- the richest and most powerful on the earth.” John implored the assembled executives to not just fight the disease with science, but also help change perceptions and public policy. Fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, John said, must be done not just with miracle vaccines, but by fighting stigma and breaking down barriers. “There are long-standing stereotypes and prejudices that inhibit our efforts to combat AIDS,” he said.

To support Sir Elton’s efforts, BIO has pledged $150,000 to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. You can make a donation at

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