Hydeia Broadbent, Lifelong Activist For HIV And AIDS Awareness, Dies At 39

Hydeia Broadbent, Lifelong Activist For HIV And AIDS Awareness, Dies At 39 | Photo: Jerod Harris via Getty Images
Hydeia Broadbent, Lifelong Activist For HIV And AIDS Awareness, Dies At 39 | Photo: Jerod Harris via Getty Images
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Hydeia Broadbent, a lifelong spokesperson and advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness, has died at the age of 39.

The activist’s life mission was to spread awareness and preventative education about the immunodeficiency virus. Her dad Loren Broadbent wrote a public Facebook post that included a picture of his daughter to share her passing.

“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.”

Supporters rushed to the comments section to offer their condolences to the family.

“Sending you love and appreciation for sharing her with our community. Please let me know what I can do,” one person commented.

“I am so sorry for your loss, she was very well loved and very intelligent, a real stigma fighter,” someone else said.

“So very sorry to hear this. I remember first seeing her on Oprah and thinking how smart, beautiful and strong she was. I have checked in on her status over the years to see what she was up to. She was so strong and such an advocate,” a third expressed. “The world learned so much from her strength. What a dynamic woman she grew up to be. Thank you for loving her and raising her and for sharing her with the world. She can rest well, she fought a darn good fight until the end.”

The public speaker was found alone as a newborn at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas after her mother at birth by a mother, who was a drug addict, deserted her, BET reported. She was welcomed into a loving family after being matched with her adoptive parents Loren and Patricia Broadbent when she was still a baby. Three years later, it was determined she was “HIV-positive with advancement to AIDS.”

After learning and dealing with the health issues that come along with living being HIV-positive, Broadbent knew she wanted to be a champion of the virus instead of letting her condition negatively consume her, so she became a determined abolitionist at the age of six. She appeared on syndicated TV shows and in magazines when she was a child such as Nickelodeon’s A Conversation with Magic Johnson, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The New York Times, People, Teen People, Essence and Ebony.

The Las Vegas native’s sole purpose was to share her story and help tear down misconceptions the general public had about HIV and AIDS.

“No one really knows how long anybody is going to live because I don’t put myself like, ‘Oh, you have AIDS,’ or I could go outside and get hit by a bus tomorrow,” she said to Oprah in a 1996 interview when she was just 11 years old. “And you never know if you stay in your bed and feel sorry for yourself and don’t get up with the birds and just sit there and say ‘I’m going to die. Why get up and try to make a difference?’ But when you say, ‘Well, today’s another day I can get up and do something and make something positive.'”

That same year she was invited to be a guest speaker at the Republican National Convention where she made the unforgettable statement, “I am the future, and I have AIDS.” Several years later her family released a book titled You Get Past The Tears, to be transparent about their reality of living with HIV and AIDS while simultaneously spreading hope. And a couple of years later they appeared on Extreme Home Makeover.

“People think because I was born with HIV my story does not apply to them. Well, this same disease I am living with is the same disease you can get if you are aware and informed,” Broadbent once said per BET. “I use my testimony as a warning of what you don’t want to go through.”

Being a recognized international activist, she worked with Magic Johnson again when her partnership with the Magic Johnson Foundation in 2014 in addition to other collaborations she had with other nonprofits, organizations and brands.

In August 2022, she reposted her interview with Oprah on Instagram and captioned it with, “I rejoice daily knowing I beat the odds as a child, living past the age of five. Today babies born in the U.S. don’t have to worry about contracting HIV at birth like I did. I’m pretty proud to know that my life and work have contributed to that!”

It was always her mission to uplift others through her activism and with the outpouring of love from people who know her story, it seems she accomplished her goal. Rest in peace, Hydeia.