Madonna marked World AIDS Day on Friday by offering fans a stripped-down, haunting cover version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, and also sent the singer a birthday shoutout (Spears turned 36 on Saturday, Dec. 2).

“Silence =Death! 😷. Song For World AIDS Day! 🌎🌍🌏.Β #toxic#poisonparadiseΒ πŸ”₯Β @britneyspears. πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ Happy Birthday!! πŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’ž,” wrote Madonna on Instagram along with a video of her performance, in which she accompanies herself on acoustic guitar.

Madonna has been a longtime AIDS activist, which she reminded us in a social media post featuring a letter that was published as a full-page ad inΒ Billboard back in 1991.

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She also shared a vintage photo of herself and some pals, including artists Keith Haring and Martin Burgoyne, both of whom lost their lives to the disease.

Madonna’s “Toxic” cover came shortly after the 59-year-old pop icon responded to an Instagram meme about the song, apparently misunderstanding that the point of the meme was to praiseΒ “Toxic”, not trash it.


Madonna’s defense of the song led a number of Twitter users to goof on her for not understanding the meme, including the Instagram user who started the meme, who replied: “Mom, I don’t think you get the meme, @madonna… Toxic is life.”