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U.S. News

Florida: AIDS Activist Back to Talk About Her Life

March 29, 2012

Twenty years ago, Boca Raton resident Mary Fisher went public with her HIV-positive status in a big way, delivering the now-iconic "A Whisper of AIDS" speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Overnight she went from being a 44-year-old divorcee and single mother to an international AIDS activist.

"Back then, being diagnosed with HIV was a death sentence, so I didn't know how long I had," recalled Fisher. Her speech admonished fellow Republicans to be sympathetic regarding AIDS versus continuing to ignore it. Twenty years later, Fisher's mission for prevention, optimism, education, and assistance remains unchanged.

Fisher, who boasts 30 years of sobriety as a recovering alcoholic, is set to keynote a fundraising gala Saturday evening for Gratitude House, a nonprofit treating women dually diagnosed with substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Fisher was inspired to combat the stigma of HIV/AIDS for her sons -- both uninfected. Her oldest son, Max, now 24, is an aspiring filmmaker whose forthcoming documentary presents the younger generation's views on HIV/AIDS.

These days Fisher focuses on motherhood, personal wellness, global advocacy, and her artwork (viewable at She also counsels HIV-positive women on broaching the topic with new suitors, as well as preventing perinatal infection of their infants.

Saturday evening, Fisher will discuss the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. "The virus is very clever, always changing and mutating," she said. "That means you're constantly monitoring how it -- and your medications -- are affecting you."

For more on the black-tie benefit, telephone 561-833-6826, ext. 228, or e-mail

Back to other news for March 2012

Adapted from:
Palm Beach Post
03.27.2012; Steve Dorfman

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More HIV Activist Profiles and Personal Accounts

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