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13 Moments in Black Celebrity HIV/AIDS Activism

February 7, 2013


Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton Reveals Her Status on the Cover of Essence Magazine (1994)

Having served as the national youth director for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, Rae Lewis-Thornton had political aspirations. She left those behind when she was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 23 in 1986. She learned of her status after donating blood to the Red Cross. In 1994, she revealed her status on the cover of Essence Magazine.

After that, Rae became a journalist dedicated to telling the stories of those living with HIV/AIDS. Rae served as a contributing editor for WBBM-TV, a CBS-owned and operated television station, for an ongoing series of personal stories of people living with HIV/AIDS, for which she received an Emmy Award. Now, she continues to use media -- social media -- to spread her message of HIV awareness. She held the first HIV/AIDS "tweet-up" in the U.S. in July 2010. Nowadays, she blogs with both video and text on her own website and on to tell the story of being a Diva Living With AIDS.

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