British rocker Elton John was no fan of George W. Bush during his presidency. He opposed the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and called the former president “the worst thing that ever happened to America”. Recently John, a gay man and AIDs activist, has voiced praise for Bush, explaining that his contributions in the fight against AIDs have been tremendous. John explained:
“I found him well informed and I found him determined to do something about the AIDS situation so I changed my opinion of him…I learned a lesson.” (source)
He also spoke to Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Prevention, or PEPFAR, which has raised $15 billion to help with AIDs treatment and prevention.
Other Celebs support Bush’s Efforts
Former “Will and Grace” actress Debra Messing was also critical of Bush during his presidency, but explained why PEPFAR was so important:
“President Bush created PEPFAR. That’s one of the most important contributions to this fight made by anybody, by any living president. So I think that regardless of his other policies, or how you feel about how he was as a president, anybody who is an advocate and trying to support global health has so much to thank the former President Bush for.”
PEPFAR, founded in 2003, describes itself as “the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. This historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and PEPFAR investments also help alleviate suffering from other diseases across the global health spectrum. PEPFAR is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to make smart investments to save lives.” You can find out more information about PEPFAR, its programs, and its goals on its official page.
AIDs affects 33 million people. In the United States, 1.1 million people are HIV positive, and over 56,000 are infected with the AIDs virus. Throughout the years it has killed over 25 million people, including over 530,000 Americans (source). Healthcare professionals and researchers are continuously working hard to treat and prevent AIDs, but it’s up to us as individuals to have the facts on how to prevent it. One of the first steps is routine testing for HIV.