British pop legend Sir Elton John has appealed to members of the US Senate on Wednesday (6 May) to redouble its efforts to help finally stamp out AIDS in his lifetime.

The singer, a prominent voice in the fight against AIDS, praised efforts by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in battling the disease but said much more needed to be done.

"The AIDS epidemic is not over and America's continued leadership is critical. There is a window of opportunity before us, a window through which we can very clearly see the end of AIDS within my lifetime. We cannot afford to let the window close," Sir Elton testified at a Senate sub-committee hearing.

Warning of a "ruthless pandemic" should efforts slacken, Sir Elton urged Congress to use its power to ensure America's continued commitment to the global campaign against AIDS.

"I have stood at too many bedsides in America and England and across Africa, helplessly watching people die in pain. The thought that we might go back to those dark days is unthinkable," he said.

Some 35 million people currently have HIV and AIDS has killed around 40m people since it began spreading 30 years ago.