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Alison Gertz
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Advocate
    (circa 1966-August 8, 1992)
    Born in Manhattan, New York
    Resided in Manhattan, New York
    Was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988
    Advocated for AIDS awareness and safe sex practices
    Subject of the movie 'Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story' starring Molly Ringwald
    She experienced unexplainable health issues which resulted in two weeks of hospitalization, x-rays, and tests before she was diagnosed with HIV.
    She traced her infection with HIV to her first sexual experience at age 16, her partner being a bisexual bartender who later died of AIDS.
    It took doctors longer than usual to diagnose her with HIV due to the majority of HIV/AIDS patients being homosexual males, intravenous drug abusers and blood-transfusion recipients at the time.
    Some people found her diagnosis surprising not only because she did not fit the typical patient definition, but also because of her life of privilege and social prominence, despite her sexual behavior choices.
    During her illness and AIDS activism, her strong-willed personality was at times more of a disadvantage than an advantage to her.
    At the time of her death, she had not eaten for one week and had been unable to drink fluids for several days.
    She died as her parents' only child.
    She survived being born six weeks premature.
    She saw her illness as an opportunity to educate people, especially adolescents, about HIV/AIDS misconceptions as well as safe sex practices and research funding needs.
    Her diagnosis disclosure and activism was considered a turning point in HIV/AIDS awareness due to the public's ignorance and misconceptions about the disease at the time.
    She was voted Woman of the Year by Esquire magazine, received the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Public Service, and was the subject of a movie about her life and activism.
    After her death, her three best friends co- founded the HIV/AIDS educational foundation Love Heals.
    She was fond of her pet dog and cats.

Credit: Pr31wnb


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