On Sunday World Aids Day shed light on the many advances that have been made in the awareness, treatment, and prevention of AIDS. Although there were events all over this country and all over the world there seemed to be one man whose face seems to symbolize the fight against HIV/AIDS, the lead singer of U2 Bono. For World AIDS Day Bono sat down for a talk with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos with whom he talked about American involvement in the fight, as well as naming one of the biggest enemies that must be defeated in order for AIDS to be eradicated, inequality.
Perhaps no one in his generation has done more to help fight Aids. There is definitely no one who is more widely known as a pop star who has committed as much work to this cause. Bono is the co-founder of ONE and (RED) Campaign. ONE, possibly named after the famous U2 anthem of love, targets Americans to motivate them in an effort to help stop the global AIDS epidemic, while RED raises money to help impoverished areas of Africa improve their quality of life, including helping them prevent AIDS.
In the interview Bono explained that when he first began helping out the effort to end AIDS he realized something shocking. He says that it soon sunk in that it was purely an accident pertaining to where a person was born and lived whether they would receive the crucial access to antiretroviral drugs that can save those suffering from AIDS.
“It actually really was an assault on my whole idea of equality,” said Bono. Bono went on to add that at that moment it no longer seemed like he was working for a charitable cause but that he was actually fighting for justice. “We can’t have these technologies, simple, cheap and be denying them to others,” he added passionately.
Bono has been in the news before for both criticizing and supporting the US government. He was the topic of some controversy when he, as a liberal entertainer, did not speak out against George W. Bush, saying the former president had helped him immensely in Africa and therefore he couldn’t say Bush was a bad president and did deserve credit.
Amidst the festivities of World Aid’s Day, Bono seemed fairly hopeful about the work that had been accomplished and the work that the United States was continuing to do.
“There does seem to be political will,” Bono said. He added that the American people seem to realize how big of a deal this virus is and how much death it has caused. He added that Americans “have it in their sights. They want to see it done. And that is so inspiring to me.”
The only conflict in the interview came out over PEPFAR which has been reauthorized by Congress this year. Bono told ABC how he had fought President Bush over establishing PEPFAR, but the President had wanted something solely American to organize aid.
But now the US will host a conference organized by The Global Fund, something Bono is very excited about. He said that historically Republicans had been opposed to The Global Fund, favoring PEPFAR instead.
“This is incredible. This is what happens when people put their ego and political point-scoring away for a bigger purpose and they stop playing politics with the poor,” he remarked.
Bono’s work has certainly paid off as World AIDS Day seems to be a huge success and is increasing the support for the fight against AIDS. Bono’s story of how inequality was crippling the ability to eradicate HIV from the globe should only help strengthen the resolve of World AIDS DAY supporters and help give momentum to U.S. legislation.
By Nick Manai