amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and GBCHealth honored Bill Gates at a benefit event in Washington, D.C., on the eve of the 19th International AIDS Conference, paying tribute to the spirit of global collaboration that has underpinned the world’s progress in the fight against AIDS.

The event, titled “Together to End AIDS,” was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was attended by Sharon Stone, Anderson Cooper, Jessye Norman, John Corbett, Tyson Beckford, Eve, M·A·C AIDS Fund Chairman John Demsey, The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, The Honorable Barbara Lee, The Honorable Ed Markey, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, and GBCHealth CEO John Tedstrom, among many others.

Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, received amfAR’s Award of Courage for his visionary leadership on global health and HIV/AIDS. Previous recipients of the award include President Bill Clinton, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and Sir Elton John. Sharon Stone, amfAR’s Global Fundraising Chairman, presented Mr. Gates with his award. Ms. Stone gave a heartfelt and emotional tribute to Mr. Gates, remarking on the tremendous courage he has shown in taking on such daunting public health crises. Upon receiving his award, Mr. Gates thanked all the scientists, health workers, and people living with AIDS who have fought so hard to bring an end to the epidemic. Mr. Gates spoke with much hope about the potential to discover a cure and a vaccine, stating “Again and again, innovation has solved problems that people thought were unsolvable.”

The event opened with a performance by world-renowned opera singer Jessye Norman, who floored the crowd with her rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Featured speakers included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, and GBCHealth CEO John Tedstrom.

The evening kicked off the first International AIDS Conference to be held in the U.S. in more than two decades. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed legislation that lifted the longstanding ban on HIV-positive foreign visitors to the U.S., allowing the first conference to take place on U.S. soil since 1990.

“Together to End AIDS” was generously underwritten by Platinum Sponsor M·A·C Viva Glam. Mandarian Oriental Washington, D.C. was the Hotel Sponsor. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of amfAR.

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