Singer Elton John told attendees at the AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington D.C. that he should be dead from AIDS like Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and actor Rock Hudson.

“By all rights, I shouldn't be here today. I should be dead. Six feet under in a wooden box. I should have contracted HIV in the 1980's and died in the 1990's just like Freddie Mercury, just like Rock Hudson. Just like so many friends and loved ones of yours and mine,” Sir Elton John said.

“Every day I wonder: How did I survive?”

“I don't know the answer and I never will, but I do know why I'm here. I'm here to deliver to you and anyone who will listen the message that saved my life. The message that can save millions of lives, if we put it to practice.”

“No matter who you are or who you love, no matter where you live or how you live, no matter what you have or haven't done, everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone, everyone, everyone deserves love.”

Sir Elton, whose Elton John AIDS Foundation gives away $18 million a year, said the AIDS epidemic is “fueled by stigma, by hate, by misinformation, by ignorance, by indifference.”

“Yes, I hope and pray that we will all discover a vaccine, we all do. But we won't get that vaccine to those in need if governments shun their most marginalized citizens. That is why compassion is critical. That is why love is the cure.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)