HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent died at 39. Her father, Loren Broadbent, confirmed the news of her death on social media on Feb. 20.

“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,” Loren wrote in a Facebook post. “Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Hydeia remained determined to spread hope and positivity through education around Hiv/AIDS.”

In a subsequent post, Loren added her death was unexpected.

Loren and Patricia Broadbent adopted Hydeia when she was only an infant, abandoned at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas by her drug-addict mother.

She was born with HIV, but it didn’t advance to AIDS until she was three. Remarkably, the doctors of Hydeia didn’t believe she was going to live past 5, but she did. The brave young girl at 6 used her condition to spread awareness and prevention, advocating for safe sex practices, prevention, and abstinence.

Between 11 and 12, she began appearing on numerous television programs like Good Morning America20/20, and Oprah to share her story. 

Her most notable interview was on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where the then-11-year-old taught the world that regardless of what condition someone had or how long someone had to live, it shouldn’t stop someone from “waking up with the birds” and living life to the fullest.

Hydeia traveled the world, meeting prominent people like Magic Johnson, Rockmond Dunbar, and Lamman Rucker, living her life to the fullest and shining a light on HIV and AIDS. She’s spoken on numerous radio stations and visited the nation’s most respected educational institutions, including but not limited to Howard University, Spelman, Duke University, and UCLA. 

Her push to bring awareness to the epidemic at such a young age landed her in Ebony Magazine, which named her one of the Most Influential 150 African Americans in 2008 and 2011. Hydeia was a pioneer, being the first African American youth to address the seriousness of the epidemic publicly.

In 2002, Prevention Access Campaign published her book– You Get Past the Tears: A Memoir of Love and Survival.  Hydeia wanted to show people that “AIDS can change a lot of things about your life, but it can’t change the person you are inside. You deserve happiness, love, and respect. Don’t ever forget that, and don’t let anyone try to tell you different. This is your world, too.”

Loren created a GoFundMe to cover Hydeia’s funeral expenses.


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