Musician Elton John speaks at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
"Ladies and gentlemen 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 1980s and died in the 1990s, John said.
John also called on people to stop marginalizing people with HIV-AIDS during his key note address.
"It's killing people all over the world right now. We have to stop it. We have to replace the shame with love. We have to replace the stigma with compassion. No-one should be left behind. That is how we will end the plague," John said.
This week's International AIDS Society annual meeting in Washington is the first such event in the United States since 1990, and follows a 2009 decision by the Obama administration to drop a standing U.S. ban on HIV-positive people entering the country.
The United Nations estimates that about 34 million people are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.
John is the founder of the Elton John AIDs Foundation, an international nonprofit organization that supports HIV prevention programs, education programs and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.