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Elton John has written an open letter to Ryan White, the young man who
became a face of HIV/AIDS after he was diagnosed in 1984, in honor of
the 20th anniversary of White's death.
White, a hemophiliac, seroconverted after receiving blood containing HIV in a transfusion. Despite being given six months to live, he lived for six years, and became an advocate for AIDS education, care, and tolerance.
"Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it," reads the letter in TheWashington Post. "Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society.
"Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives."
Read the full letter in The Washington Post.