WASHINGTON (AP) — Colombian superstar Juanes agreed to headline a special concert as part of the International AIDS Conference to urge political leaders to step up the fight against the disease.
Juanes said Thursday that HIV-positive people "are stigmatized, rejected by society, and I think this is the moment to change the understanding of AIDS and how it should be treated and prevented."
The Latin sensation's comments came hours before he headlined the "Beat Goes On" concert at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Juanes encouraged leaders to "continue supporting the cause" so that one day a cure can be found.
The International AIDS Conference was held for the first time in the U.S. since 1990, after President Obama lifted in 2010 the government's ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. of people who are HIV positive.
Around 34.2 million people worldwide and 1.2 million in the United States live with HIV or AIDS, according to the Henry K. Kaiser Family Foundation.
The concert benefited the nonprofit Lifebeat Music Fight HIV/AIDS, which aims to support the HIV/AIDS community and raise awareness about prevention.
Lifebeat has featured artists such as Alicia Keys, Puff Daddy and Gloria Estefan in concerts and events meant to encourage America's youth to have safe sex and get tested regularly.
Juanes received a gold record for his "MTV Unplugged" album in Mexico City. He has collaborated with artists like Juan Luis Guerra, Nelly Furtado and Tony Bennett.
The Grammy-award winning musician created in 2006 the Mi Sangre foundation, which provides social services to children victims of Colombia's violence.