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Thursday April 18, 2024

Strongest voice for HIV awareness, Hydeia Broadbent passes away at 39

Hydeia Broadbent gained prominence as part of America's first generation of children born HIV positive

By Web Desk
February 22, 2024
Hydeia Broadbent, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist. — Houston Chronicles
Hydeia Broadbent, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist. — Houston Chronicles

The world bids farewell to Hydeia Broadbent, a fearless activist who dedicated her life to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Hydeia Broadbent, who gained prominence as part of America's first generation of children born HIV positive, passed away at the age of 39, leaving a void in the advocacy community. The news of her demise was shared by her father, Loren Broadbent, on social media, who, in an emotional post, did not disclose the cause of her untimely death.

Born with HIV, Hydeia Broadbent's early years were marked by abandonment at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, only to be later adopted by Loren and Patricia Broadbent.

Diagnosed at the age of 3, she became a beacon of hope, breaking barriers in advocating for HIV awareness and fighting against the stigma associated with the virus.

Hydeia Broadbent's impact transcended her early years, as she joined her mother in public speaking engagements about HIV. By the age of 6, she took the lead, becoming a voice for those living with the virus. A vital moment in her advocacy journey came in 1992 when she appeared on a Nickelodeon special with Magic Johnson, breaking down in tears as she pleaded, "I just want people to know that we're just normal people."

Magic Johnson, deeply affected by this encounter, later said, "That very moment was both sad and inspirational. It made me want to do more to bring awareness to the disease and educate people so that no one would have to feel the way she did that day."

In 1996, at the age of 12, Hydeia Broadbent addressed the Republican National Convention with a powerful poem, declaring, "I am the future, and I have AIDS."

Her courage and determination continued to shine through as she co-wrote a memoir with her mother in 2002, titled "You Get Past the Tears: A Memoir of Love and Survival."

Hydeia Broadbent's influence extended to numerous accolades from Essence magazine, The Grio, Ebony, and the American Red Cross. For the past decade, she collaborated with the Magic Johnson Foundation, stressing HIV awareness in Black communities.

Despite facing personal challenges, Hydeia Broadbent remained a symbol of resilience. On her 34th birthday in 2018, she shared her struggles with depression but underlined her newfound outlook, stating, "I am a warrior, I raise each day with purpose, while still being a work in progress."

As the world mourns the loss of a remarkable advocate, Hydeia Broadbent's legacy will undoubtedly endure, inspiring future generations in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS.