For decades, Elton John has devoted much of his time, energy, and financial fortune to fighting AIDS — a battle he describes in a new editorial written for Billboard's first annual philanthropy issue, on newsstands now.

The full-length editorial is available here and well worth a read, but John's overriding point is that while the medical and scientific communities have made great strides against AIDS — partly through the millions continually raised by the Elton John AIDS Foundation — there remains, as he puts it, "so much work to do."

Looking back on the early days of the AIDS crisis, John writes of feeling an acute need to raise awareness of what was, at the time, dismissed as a "gay disease." Armed with little of the knowledge we have today, he recalls, "We weren’t looking for a cure – we simply wanted to help people, provide care and support and comfort, and fight the injustices faced by those living with HIV/AIDS. Most of all, we wanted them to know they mattered and that someone cared."

Today, as John points out, "HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. Instead, it is a manageable chronic illness. We know how to prevent it. We know how to treat it. And someday, we may learn how to cure it." Still, while we've turned many crucial corners in combating the disease, John cautions that the fight is far from over.

"There are too many people who lack access to critical treatment and prevention programs. There is still a dangerous lack of compassion for those living with HIV and those at risk of contracting it," he writes. "But despite all these challenges, I truly believe that we have the power to achieve an AIDS-free generation, because I’ve seen with my own eyes the incredible progress we’ve made during the past three decades. I never thought we’d get this far, this close to ending the epidemic. And my greatest hope is to live to see the day when we win the fight once and for all."

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