Erasure's Andy Bell is HIV-positive, the singer announced Tuesday (December 14).
The disclosure is Bell's first step in a larger plan of speaking out and educating young people about HIV and AIDS, his spokesperson said.
"Being HIV-positive does not mean that you have AIDS," Bell said in a statement. "My life expectancy should be the same as anyone else's, so there is no need to panic. There is still so much hysteria and ignorance surrounding HIV and AIDS. Let's just get on with life."
The singer said he's known his HIV status since June 1998, when he suffered a bout of pneumonia. Since then, longtime partner Paul Hickey has also tested positive. Bell has been undergoing drug-combination therapy and said that not only is he feeling fine, he's feeling better than ever. He's also not about to let his condition slow him down, as Erasure are putting out a new album, Nightbird, on January 25 with an ambitious tour to support it.
The tour will start in the U.K. in February or March, followed by a U.S. leg of 10 to 15 cities, beginning in April or May, with multiple shows planned in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. As many as 10 nights are being considered for New York alone, and Erasure are considering adding on dates as benefit shows to raise money for AIDS research and awareness, Bell's spokesperson said.
"The last couple of albums were a bit moody and down," Bell said in a statement announcing the album last month. "I'm so much happier with everything now. ... You can hear it in the music."