Today, we honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Hydeia Broadbent, a beacon of hope, courage, and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hydeia was a warrior whose spirit and determination transformed the landscape of awareness and compassion for those of us living with HIV/AIDS.

From a very young age, Hydeia stood in the glaring spotlight of public attention, not for fame or recognition, but to challenge the stigma and misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS. Diagnosed with HIV at three years old, Hydeia was not expected to survive past age five. In 1987, almost a decade before the introduction of effective HIV treatment, this prognosis was pretty accurate for children battling opportunistic infections brought on by HIV.

Hydeia’s mother immediately became a fierce advocate and enrolled Hydeia in clinical trials to prolong her life. It was an extraordinary win during a time when HIV clinical trials did not include women, young people, and people of color.

A chance meeting with the late HIV advocate Elizabeth Glaser in 1988 at the National Institute of Health, where they were both receiving treatment, led to Hydeia becoming a public speaker. After telling her story worldwide, including on a TV special for Nickelodeon with Magic Johnson, 20/20, Good Morning America, and becoming one of the most memorable guests of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Hydeia had become the face of not just pediatric aids but the first generation of children born with HIV.

Hydeia’s powerful and unwavering voice broke through barriers of fear and ignorance. She spoke at schools, appeared on national television, and collaborated with organizations worldwide, sharing her story to educate others about the reality of living with HIV/AIDS. Her message was clear: HIV/AIDS does not define a person, and everyone deserves love, respect, and compassion.

Hydeia changed this world! She helped shape how we advocate for young people and Black women living with HIV. She changed hearts and minds, pushing society towards greater acceptance and understanding. She inspired countless individuals to get tested, to speak openly about their status, and to fight against the stigma that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.

As we remember Hydeia Broadbent today, let us honor her memory by continuing her work. Let us be advocates for change and champions for accessible treatment for all people living with HIV, especially young Black women. Hydeia’s fight is our fight, and in her memory, we pledge to keep the flame of her legacy burning bright.

Hydeia, rest in peace. Your legacy, a tapestry woven with threads of hope, love, resilience, and unyielding commitment to all people living with HIV, will continue to guide us until there is a cure.

Hydeia Broadbent

June 14, 1984 – February 20, 2024


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