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AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent dies at age 39

Hydeia Broadbent attends the Los Angeles premiere of Apple's "They Call Me Magic" at Regency Village Theatre on April 14, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(WISH) — A prominent AIDS activist has died at the age of 39.

Hydeia Broadbent ​became the face of HIV and AIDS advocacy at a young age. Her father, Loren Broadbent, announced her death on Facebook on Wednesday morning.

“With great sadness, I must inform you all that our beloved friend, mentor and daughter Hydeia, passed away today after living with Aids since birth,” he wrote. “Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Hydeia remained determined to spread hope and positivity through education around HiV/AIDS.”

At 3 years old, she was diagnosed as HIV-positive with advancement to AIDS.

Her mother was an IV drug user who left Hydeia at the hospital. Doctors predicted she wouldn’t live past age 5.

According to Broadbent’s website, she was adopted by her parents after being abandoned at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.

In 1996, Broadbent would appear at the Republican National Convention and famously state, “I am the future, and I have AIDS.”

In 2002, her family published “You Get Past the Tears: A Memoir of Love and Survival” about their experiences.

In a post written on her website in 2018, Broadbent marked her 34th birthday as someone in “the first generation of children born HIV positive.”

“I am here, a force to be reckon with,” she wrote. “These last few years have been extremely difficult; struggles with depression, which reached scary points. A depression so dark, I was not sure how I would see the beauty in life again. I was unsure of how I’d pull myself back up. I now have a new outlook, I’m able to now see the blessing’s, and lesson’s from my valley.”

She is also known for her work with the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign launched by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and establishing the Hydeia L. Broadbent Foundation.

A cause of death was not given in her father’s post.

HIV cases have been on the decline in recent years, largely driven by fewer cases among young people, a report from the CDC found in 2023.