has issued an apology for the comments she made about gay men ... saying, "Gay people are the strongest and most inspiring people I know."
Of course, Hilton's apology is in response to a secretly recorded piece of audio released earlier this week which caught the heiress
saying such gems like, "Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. Most of them probably have AIDS."
Paris had already released a statement trying to explain herself ... but now, she's issued a full-on apology -- posted on GLAAD's website
, no less -- saying, "I am so sorry and so upset that I caused pain to my gay friends, fans and their families with the comments heard this morning."
"I was having this private conversation with a friend of mine who is gay and our conversation was in no way towards the entire gay community. It is the last thing that I would ever want to do and I cannot put into words how much I wish I could take back every word."
She continued, "Gay people are the strongest and most inspiring people I know ... Again, I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart and I feel absolutely horrible. I hope that everyone can accept my apology and know that it is not who I am or how I feel in any way."