Don't expect feathered costumes or flashing sunglasses for the Rocket Man's first congressional gig. "He's going to be appropriately dressed for the occasion," says Bob Witeck, the foundation's Washington representative. "He understands he's talking on our turf with decision makers." John has considerable experience himself raising HIV/AIDS awareness among business leaders around the world. This week on Capitol Hill "he will call for everybody to step up to the plate and do more to address the issue globally," says Witeck.
The problem, indeed, is a grim one: 36 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In the U.S., about 900,000 carry the disease. The health and education committee hasn't had a hearing on the epidemic since the late 1980s. Kennedy wants the U.S. government to pony up more money for treatment and training to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide. Says the senator: "Elton John gives visibility to the threat this disease poses."