HIV activist Hydeia Broadbent dies aged 39

The activist had HIV since birth, and sadly died at age 39. (Getty)

Hydeia Broadbent, an HIV and AIDS activist, has tragically died at the age of 39. 

Broadbent appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show at just age 11 in 1996, where she discussed living with HIV since birth and bravely spoke about overcoming the diagnosis during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the US.

Her father, Loren Broadbent, announced her tragic passing on 20 February, and described his daughter as a woman who “remained determined to spread hope”. 

He wrote: “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.

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

From a young age, Broadbent became a well-known activist, fighting to end the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. The campaigner was adopted by parents Loren and Patricia Broadbent after her birth mother, who struggled with drug addiction, abandoned her in Nevada, US. Just before her fourth birthday, her parents found out she was HIV-positive since birth, and had developed the symptoms of AIDS. 

She detailed the symptoms she began to develop in her youth, and overcame, on her Oprah appearance, including brain fungus, blood infections, and pneumonia. 

As per Hello! Magazine, her family members said she had faced “significant” health challenges, including going on kidney dialysis and life support last year. However, a GoFundMe page which was set up by her father since her passing described her death as “unexpected”. Her cause of death has not yet been revealed.

“I am Loren Broadbent the father of Hydeia Broadbent. Yesterday afternoon Hydeia unexpectedly passed away,” the post begins. 

“Our hearts are broken. Hydeia spent her whole life since the age of five showing us all how to love, fight, and speak up for those affected with HIV and AIDS. And as much as I wish she was still here fighting the great fight, God called her home. Letting us all know. Job well done. 

“In honor of her memory the family would like to lay her to rest. So at this time we are asking for donations. Along with well wishes and prayers. We would like to thank you in advance. Thank you, and let’s all keep her memory alive and continue the fight where she left off.”

You can donate to the GoFundMe in Hydeia Broadbent’s memory here.

To learn more about HIV and Aids research, testing and treatment, visit amFAR or the Terrence Higgins Trust.

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