Bono Praises Mike Pence's Defense of AIDS Bill During Friendly Meeting in Germany
After an address at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday in which he vowed that the Unite States will “hold Russia accountable,” Vice President Mike Pence had a brief visit with U2 frontman and activist Bono.
The two men discussed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — a government initiative to provide treatment, testing, education, and counseling to those suffering with HIV/AIDS in Africa (among other places).
It was first signed in 2003 under President George W. Bush and later renewed in 2008 under President Barack Obama. As an Indiana congressman at the time, Vice President Pence was an advocate for PEPFAR’s passing.
“Twice on the House floor you defended that,” Bono told Pence. “That’s how we know you.”
“It was an extraordinary historic accomplishment and you played a leading role in carrying it forward,” Pence responded.
The rockstar has been raising awareness about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic for nearly two decades now — co-forming Product Red, which partners with big brands (Nike, Gap, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Beats by Dre, etc.) to help raise money for charities fighting the disease.
He also co-founded the ONE Campaign which aims to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa by raising awareness and encouraging Americans to contact senators/elected officials and voice their opinions.
While Pence did advocate for PEPFAR’s passing, some critics have claimed that he enabled an HIV outbreak in Indiana when he was serving as governor. The critics claim that Pence’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, which was one of the few places in some parts of Indiana that offered HIV testing, as well as his alleged dithering on pushing forward a needle exchange bill to fight passing infections, led to a rise in HIV patients in Scott County. He eventually approved a bill for needle exchanges which led to a reduction in the number of HIV cases.
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“I appreciate the chance to get together for you for a minute,” Pence told Bono. “I heard you were in town.”
“You’re the second busiest man on earth,” Bono joked.
Afterwards, the Pence tweeted about the meeting. “Enjoyed chatting w/ Bono at @MunSecConf,” he wrote. “Discussed prior effort to twice pass Africa AIDS assistance & future security in developing nations.”
The Munich Security Conference marks Pence’s first trip overseas as vice president.