Sir Elton John declared a new war on AIDS and launched a tirade against the “fascists, idiots and assholes” who continue to stigmatise the disease.
The musician, who plays Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley on Saturday and Sunday, finished off World AIDS Day 2011 with a bang – watching fireworks over a red Sydney Opera House and providing some spitfire of his own.
“If we can de-stigmatise this disease once and for all, we are really going to beat this disease,” said the gay singer, who became the parent of a baby boy in October.
“This is not a faggots’ f*@^ing disease anymore. This is a worldwide disease that affects everybody.
“Let’s get rid of this disgusting stigma and get these people who are such fascists, such idiots, and such assholes to understand that people have a right to live with dignity.”
He warned that funding from governments had to be maintained if not increased to fight the disease.
“We’ve got this disease really by the scruff of the neck,” Sir Elton told those gathered at Circular Quay.
“But we cannot loosen that grip we have on it. If governments start backing out and stop funding, then the epidemic will start to balloon again.”
Sir Elton said the world needed to “fight a new war, to get the funding necessary to actually kill the disease once and for all”.
He flicked the switch on massive lights which illuminated the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons – the landmarks were just two of 50 worldwide turning red to highlight the 390,000 cases of HIV transmission from mothers to children each year.
The star was joined at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay by starstruck MP Anthony Albanese – fresh from his now famous Dolly Parton snuggle a fortnight ago.
The pollie got to meet the country megastar after he cut through red tape to allow her over-sized tour bus into Australia.
In Canberra, new and old Parliament Houses and Black Mountain Tower were also turned red as part of World AIDS Day celebrations.