Elton John testifies before Senate about AIDS relief: “We need to keep our foot on the accelerator”

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Elton John testified remotely before the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning, urging the committee to continue to fund the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The plan, known as PEPFAR, was founded in 2003 by President George W. BushThe Hill reports that in his testimony, Elton credited it with saving some 25 million lives and urged Congress to extend and fund the program for the next five years.

“I am boundlessly grateful for the bipartisan cooperation that has been the hallmark of PEPFAR for two decades now,” he told lawmakers, noting that the plan has been “enthusiastically supported by four presidents and 10 Congresses, and consistently championed by the generosity of the American people.”

“The PEPFAR platform has not only transformed HIV into a chronic disease for tens of millions, it has been leveraged to fight [COVID-19] and made countries far better prepared for whatever viral nightmare comes next,” Elton noted. “But we are not done yet.”

He continued, “We need to keep our foot on the accelerator,” adding, “By extending PEPFAR for another five years and fully funding it, together, we can continue the march toward ending AIDS for everyone everywhere and leave no one behind.”

The committee’s chairman, Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.) praised Elton as someone who “use[s] their fame in a way that saves the lives of others.”

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