Young 'not listening' about Aids

  • 17 November 2009
  • From the section Health
David Furnish and Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John thinks young people are getting complacent about Aids

Sir Elton John has warned that many young people are putting themselves at risk of Aids by having unsafe sex.

Speaking to Newsbeat at a charity gala in New York, the star said people are getting "complacent" about the disease.

"We are finding that too many young people are not listening to what we are saying," he said.

He also warned that awareness about the dangers of Aids was not being passed on.

"I'm afraid people do get a little complacent about the disease by going out and having unsafe sex," he said.

"It's a cyclical thing. Every 10 years a new generation comes along and you have to re-educate them."

Charities estimate that Aids, which stops the body's immune system working properly, contributes to approximately two million deaths worldwide per year.

At the annual Enduring Vision event for the Elton John Aids Foundation, the singer also warned the problem was getting worse.

"It's easy to get forgotten about, it's not the new disease but it's still out there and it's not getting any better," he said.

"In fact we're finding that in America, amongst African American women, amongst the rural south, amongst the gay community, it's getting worse."

Celebrity turnout

The event was held to honour former US President Bill Clinton and Hollywood actress Sharon Stone for their work in support of the charity.

"We do honour people who do work for our charity, not just financially but by spreading the word in other fields," the singer said.

Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone said she was positive a vaccine could be developed for Aids

"Aids has been here for so long. It's part and parcel of the fabric of the world now."

On the red carpet before the event, Sharon Stone spoke about her work to raise awareness about Aids.

"One child dies every other minute from Aids and it hurts me, it hurts me deeply and it makes me feel that my work is not done," she said.

But the actress was more positive about recent advances in treatment and work to find a vaccine for the disease.

"Now tonight I feel hopeful, I feel that we are getting somewhere, we have life extending drugs, things that are working," she added.

Other stars turned out to support the event including James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

"It's just a chance to raise some money for the foundation which has raised millions and millions over the years so we've got to keep going," he said.

Since it was set up in 1992 the Elton John Aids Foundation has raised more than £80m.

The Enduring Vision event was the first public engagement for the musician since he left hospital after a bout of flu and treatment for E.coli.

His illness forced the cancellation of a string of UK shows last month and a number of US dates have been affected, including a show in San Jose which was due to take place tonight (17 November).