On the morning of his Oscar bash, Elton spoke to CBS News, explaining why he became involved in the fight against AIDS.
"I wanted redemption for the fact that during the '80s, as a gay man, I didn't do enough for HIV and AIDS."
He was also inspired by a young hemophiliac from Indiana who had contracted AIDS.
"It all came about with Ryan White and seeing how my life was so distorted and upside down. Yeah, I had some good times, but the good times compared to the bad times - not worth it. Not worth it."
Ryan was just 19 when he died in 1990. Soon after, Elton entered rehab.
"I'm 18 years clean and sober this year and I've never been happier," the singer said. "But you have to have the humility to say, 'Okay, I've got to listen to people who know what the deal is.'"
On the advice of friends and doctors, he gave-up the hard-partying scene in Los Angeles for the southern gentility of Atlanta. His apartment, high above the city and overflowing with photographs, has been his American home ever since.
It is here in Atlanta, 16 years ago, that he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation to provide services to people living with the illness all over the world.
"Now when I started the foundation, the disease was basically about gay men," Elton stated. "And since then, of course, it's blossomed or boomed into this worldwide epidemic - 33 million people being infected - and it affects everybody."
Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, after a long period of decline, the number of AIDS cases, especially among young gay men, is on the rise.
"We are facing an uphill battle again in countries that you thought you'd crossed, you'd done that, you've covered that territory," Elton said.
Asked why this is happening, he explained:
"Because people think, 'Well, you know, even if I do get HIV, I'm going to be OK.' They don't realize the toxicity of the drugs they have to take. And I just think it's so reprehensible, with the information available to them. But they do it and so we have to help them."
He also spoke about the Oscar benefit.
"The first one, we raised $100,000. Last year, we raised $4.5 million. It's a big pile of money for us."
And tonight, Elton's party has another huge draw.
"I'm gonna play it for the first time. I normally get someone else to play it, but this time I'm playing."
As with past events, another attraction is to be the auction.
Among those participating is Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines Company, donating a pair of one-of-a-kind 9-liter bottles of Sterling Vineyards 2004 Red Carpet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Gold Standard Reserve Chardonnay, the custom wines created exclusively for the Academy Awards.
These bottles will be the cornerstones of a deluxe auction lot including: a three temperature control wine cellar stocked with 150 bottles of DC&E wines and an incredible wine country weekend for ten people, complete with croquet tournament, wine blending sessions and gourmet dinner with celebrity chef Joey Altman.