At the event, Madonna discussed the rumours that she had tested positive for AIDS:
“When the rumors surfaced that I was HIV-positive, I thought, well, someone’s really bored today . . . let’s make up a real juicy story. I tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. . . .
Instead of pointing the finger at people and having witch hunts and ostracizing each other for lifestyles and sexual preferences, we should all be uniting to fight this disease . . . but we’re not. Because we’re afraid. We’re scared out of our skins to face the truth that AIDS is not a gay disease, it’s a human disease.
Now I’m not HIV-positive, but what if I were? I would be more afraid of how society would treat me for having the disease than the actual disease itself. If this is what I have to deal with for my involvement in fighting this epidemic, then so be it.
I’m not afraid to be associated with people who are HIV-positive, and I am not afraid to love people who are HIV-positive. Because their ordeal is more important than mine, because their courage is larger than mine, because what they’re facing is real. And if we can learn to deal with real, and our fears, then I’m hopeful that we can conquer this disease.”
The event drew 850 guests, and raised $750,000 for AmFAR. Performers included Patti Austin, k.d. lang, Barry Manilow, Michael McDonald, David Pack and Rosie O’Donnell, who did a hilarious send-up of the Madonna’s Vogue.