- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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 Elton 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 Elton appeared before Congress to testify in support of a global-health fund that fights poverty and diseases like AIDS and malaria abroad.

Mr. Graham said the fund is a great use of federal dollars but is under threat by so-called sequester caps on spending.

“The world has to step up and keep the funding flowing,” Sir Elton said.

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