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Hydeia Broadbent, who, at an early age, became a leading voice in the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, has passed away at the age of 39.

Fellow AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton confirmed the news of her passing on X, formerly Twitter, on February 20.

I’m sad to announce that renowned AIDS Activist Hydeia Broadbent passed away today. Over the years our paths crossed so much we became friends. Rest my sister Rest. Your legacy will live forever. Good and faithful servant well done ❤🙏🏾 love you Deia

Lewis-Thornton also shared the official statement from Broadbent’s family, saying that she “will be remembered for her work as a World Wide HIV/AIDS Activist. As well as being a loving daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, family member and friend.”

Further details on honoring her life and supporting her family will be forthcoming, according to the statement.

Hydeia was born with HIV on June 14, 1984, back when so little was known of the virus. Receiving a full AIDS diagnosis at 3, doctors did not expect her to live past the age of 5. However, she defied the odds and became one of the most recognizable voices in the fight against AIDS.

As noted by the Jackson Free Press, her activism traced back to 1993, when she appeared on a NICK News special with NBA great Magic Johnson and other kids living with HIV/AIDS. As tears streamed down her face, she emphasized, “I want people to know that we’re just normal people.”

Since then, she has devoted her entire life to speak out about the virus. Her most notable speech came in 1996, when she read a poem she wrote at the Republican National Convention.


“I am the future, and I have AIDS,” proclaimed Hydeia, standing at the podium in a black overall skirt and white t-shirt, alongside AIDS activist Mary Fisher. In front of thousands of delegates and millions of TV viewers, she continued fearlessly, one strand of her flowing, tight-knotted braids hanging over her face near her clip-on nose ring: “I am Hydeia L. Broadbent. I can do anything I put my mind to. I am the next doctor. I am the next lawyer. I am the next Maya Angelou. I might even be the first woman president. I am the future, and I have AIDS. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I am not afraid of the white man, I am not afraid of the black man. I am only afraid of my mom when I get a bad report card. You can’t crush my dream. I am the future, and I have AIDS.”

That same year, Broadbent had a memorable appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, sharing her story and inspiring audiences around the world.

Prior to her passing, Broadbent continued to make several appearances on-air and in-person, connecting with people from all walks of life and encouraging them to stay vigilant and make good choices to keep from being at-risk.

An official cause of death is unknown.

Hydeia Broadbent, World-Renowned HIV/AIDS Activist, Dies at 39  was originally published on