Remarks With Sir Elton John Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Outer Office
Washington, DC
October 24, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s my enormous pleasure to welcome Sir Elton John here to the State Department. We met a few years ago when we were talking and I was still in the Senate about the challenge of PEPFAR and creating the next AIDS-free – the AIDS-free generation. I want to thank Sir Elton for his tremendous leadership almost from the beginning of the challenge of HIV/AIDS. And his foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been critical in bringing hope and help to a lot of people.

So it’s my pleasure today to be able to announce a $7 million partnership between PEPFAR and the Elton John Foundation which will help bring additional assistance to people and help us meet this goal of an AIDS-free generation. And I want to thank him very, very much for his extraordinary leadership. We’re going to continue to work together to bring this help to all those folks, particularly in the LGBT community, who need this particular assistance. And we think it’ll make a difference, as he has through the years. So thank you, sir.

SIR ELTON JOHN: Thank you. I’d like to thank Secretary Kerry for taking the time to see me, for his tireless work from the word “go” to create an AIDS-free world. He has been relentless in that. And also, hearing the Obama Administration’s loud, loud voice that everyone in the world should be – we should be living in an AIDS-free world, and that people, no matter who they love, who they are, should have a right to be AIDS-free.

To be able to combine with PEPFAR, from our foundation’s point of view, is a dream come true, because together, you double the effect. I think from the beginning of the AIDS crisis, there were so many different foundations, and what’s happened is that now, there’s a few of us left. We’re probably the smallest of them all, but we combine with PEPFAR and everybody else. We all work together to ensure that in this day and age, nobody gets left behind no matter what their sexuality, their color, or whatever. It’s important. If people get left behind, the disease will get left behind, and we will face an enormous uphill battle.

So this partnership that we’re doing today is an incredibly important step to, again, ensuring that people in the future will be living in an AIDS-free society. That’s been my goal ever since we started this foundation, and I know it’s Secretary Kerry’s goal as well and the Obama Administration’s goal. Together, we’re fighting it, and I’m very optimistic that we can make a huge difference. This is a very, very big deal. We’re opening this and doing this in South Africa, and – this first joint venture and it’s a historic adventure – a venture and an adventure.

So thank you, Senator Kerry, for your help; thank you, PEPFAR; and together, I think we will do great work, and we have a lot more work to do, but this is a good start.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir, very, very much. Thank you. Nice comments.