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

May 15, 2013

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Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson

Acclaimed actress and advocate Rosario Dawson is from New York City's Lower East Side and boasts Puerto Rican, Cuban, African American, Irish and Native American descent. Her film career began when she was cast off the street in the controversial 1995 indie film Kids. Dawson played libertine Ruby, a teenage girl with plenty of sexual experience who goes for an HIV test that comes back negative while her best friend, the more conservative Jenny (played by Chloë Sevigny), tests HIV positive.

Growing up, Dawson knew many people living with HIV/AIDS, most notably her mother's best friend, her "Uncle Frank." "I would share my food with Frank," Dawson recalls, "and he would just cry, 'My family and friends never do that with me, because they're afraid of being contaminated.' I was just 7 years old, and I knew I couldn't get AIDS that way." Dawson eventually ended up moving in with Frank and his partner Vincenzo.

Dawson had been working for HIV/AIDS awareness even before her work in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rent, in which she played Mimi Marquez, the heroine of the show, who is living with HIV. She has been involved with PSAs for Cable Positive, tweets about HIV on World AIDS Day, and is the spokesperson for Aldo Fights AIDS. Rosario is also involved with PFLAG's Stay Close organization, where she and Frank are co-spokespeople.

Source: Marie Claire





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