One of the biggest takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic has been how people of color are disproportionately affected.
Now, Elton John's written an op-ed saying the same is true for HIV/AIDS -- especially in the U.S.
Coinciding with the 2020 International AIDS Conference, John wrote in The Atlantic, "The color of your skin should not determine the quality of your health. But in the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is exacerbated by racism, bias, and discrimination."
"As America continues its long-overdue reckoning with racism and systemic injustice, we must address the devastating impact of the disease on the Black community," he wrote. "An end to the AIDS epidemic can only be achieved through dignity, respect, love, and compassion for all."
He explained in the piece that he started the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 because he believes "everyone deserves the right to a healthy life, no matter who you love, who you are, or where you’re from."
John praised the "impressive strides" the U.S. has made towards ending AIDS. But, he says, racial inequalities need to be addressed. He cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic that Black Americans are 13% of the population, but in 2018, they represented 42% percent of new HIV diagnoses, among many other statistics.
The singer wrote that he feels these disparities "reflect centuries of discrimination."
"We can achieve an AIDS-free generation in America -- but only if we design a system of care that embraces Black people and marginalized communities, and tackles structural racism head-on," John wrote.