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Viva Mi Gente!: 12 Latino Celebrities and Characters Who Thrust HIV/AIDS Into Popular Culture

May 15, 2013


Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz

For those growing up gay in the '90s, Wilson Cruz represents a monumental point of visibility -- he played one of the first openly gay characters on television, Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez from My So-Called Life, who dealt with coming out, being thrown out of his house and being abused. Of Afro-Puerto Rican ancestry, Cruz works with and advocates on behalf of LGBT youth, especially youth of color.

His other most notable role is on LOGO's Noah's Arc, where he played Junito Vargas, the love interest of main character Ricky Davis, the "promiscuous friend" in the portrayed group of four gay African-American friends in L.A. On the show, Junito is a doctor who is openly HIV positive. He also portrayed openly HIV-positive Angel Dumott Schunard in Broadway's Rent.

Late activist and blogger Brandon Lacy Campos even recounted in a blog an instance where Wilson Cruz stood up for him at a nightclub when a potential suitor refused to court Brandon after he disclosed his HIV-positive status.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Yaeger Fri., Jul. 31, 2015 at 12:11 am EDT
Oh my how things have really changed, that it has become almost fashionable to be hiv positive. I remember when the disease first came to be, and where I was when I heard about this unknown disease, where it seemed that many people were dying around me.Was I scared of course who was not. But as some people I knew were passing over with this disease I still went to see them in the hospitals as often as I could. I think they really appreciated that about me, that fear never stopped me from going to see my friends, and associates on the bus. Therefore, I treated them the way I would have wanted to have been treated. But I really thought by now there would be a cure for the disease.
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Comment by: Anonymous Sat., Jul. 11, 2015 at 8:19 am EDT
Hola me hize la prueba hace dos crmanas pero me comenzo el sangrado despues paro y ahora otra ves tengo un poco de dolor en la caders y un poco enfrente y me hago la prueba muchas veces mas y sale positiva no se que hacer
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Comment by: Miguel (El Centro Ca,) Sat., Jul. 12, 2014 at 10:57 am EDT
I am 52 years old and want to find a woman who is HIV positive. Recommend places to contact me. Thank you
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Comment by: OhioMan (Alliance, Ohio) Wed., Jun. 19, 2013 at 11:20 am EDT
I recall Pedro quite well...I was living in Los Angeles at the time and HIV was so new and scary. Pedro was an Idol to us all and helped to explain this horrible illness...Thanks Pedro..
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Comment by: Marta L. (richmond va) Sun., May. 26, 2013 at 12:23 am EDT
my soul can take it it is my body that fails me some times I am 63 years old and hope to live some more don't know how many more. I fell very happy and some times so sad is all part of the prossees . learn to take it one day at a time.
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