Sir Elton John last night called for a unified global push to rid the world of HIV as Australia’s World AIDS Day commemoration drew to a close.

Speaking at a function at Circular Quay, the pop music superstar who is in Australia for a series of concerts, said the world needed to “fight a new war, to get the funding necessary to actually kill the disease once and for all”.

“We’ve got this disease really by the scruff of the neck,” Sir Elton said.

“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.”

Joined by federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and singer David Campbell, Sir Elton then cut a red ribbon – the global symbol for HIV remembrance – before watching the sails of the Sydney Opera House turn red and the harbour come alive with fireworks.

“If we can de-stigmatise this disease once and for all, we are really going to beat this disease,” Sir Elton told the assembled crowd.

“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.

“We can’t let go now, it’s imperative we seize this opportunity where the end is maybe in sight, to keep going.

“We need the backing and confirmation of global governments to say once and for all … let’s get rid of this disease when we have the chance to. And we do have the chance.”

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