Pedro Zamora – an example for us all

So being almost 30, I remember watching the original episodes of the Real World on MTV.  Now they are on something like Real World XXV.  Only a young adolescent I remember being amazed and inspired by Pedro Zamora, the housemate on Real World II: San Francisco who was living with HIV.  I was just starting to begin to discover my own sexuality at that point, and seeing an openly gay man on TV gave me hope and encouragement.  My heart would cringe every time Puck would ridicule or mock the man who was trying to bring such an important message to the world: HIV is preventable and we can do something about it.  I grew up as a teenager during Pedro’s brief time on TV, and his message still resonates with me today man years later.

While pursuing the web, I came across the Equality Forum’s wonderful web site for GLBT HIstory Month (I must admit that being in medical school has completely encased me in a bubble and I did not even know that October was GLBT HIstory month) which features a “GLBT” icon for each day of the month.  Today’s was Pedro Zamora.  He was the first TV personality to be open about his HIV status.  Although he was gay, and contracted HIV through having sex with a man, his story is a universal one of hope and he has inspired a generation of individuals.  He has been recognized by President Clinton for his outstanding contributions to society.

I only hope that in my advocacy I can continue to fight for what Pedro thought it was important and to ensure that we all have the proper education and tools we need to combat HIV in all communities.

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