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We Mourn Our Great Loss: Paying Homage to Martin Delaney

January 23, 2009

We mourn our loss. A great hero in the fight of HIV disease and a great friend to many, Martin Delaney died this morning, January 23, 2009.

Martin Delaney was well known to many people. He was a pioneer and leader, and a key figure within the AIDS movement stretching from the beginning of the HIV epidemic to the present. The important role he played translated to the saving of many lives from HIV and AIDS. Besides his numerous and important accomplishments, he touched the hearts of almost any HIV-positive person he ever came in contact with.

It is exceedingly rare for someone who is not HIV-positive to completely and deeply understand what it is like to be infected. Marty was one of the few people who understood how HIV sufferers felt and what they had to deal with, without ever having the disease himself. It is also rare for someone who is HIV-negative to become an AIDS activist, let alone have the passion that Marty exhibited, combined with the tenacity and determination to accomplish as much as he did.

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Visit Positively Aware's website to find out more about the publication.
See Also
Project Inform Announces the Passing of Founder, Martin Delaney
Statement of NIAID Directory Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., on the Death of Martin Delaney
NIAID Honors AIDS Activist Martin Delaney With Award
More HIV Activist Obituaries

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Robertangelo Coppola (Orlando Florida) Sat., Feb. 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm UTC
Mr Berkowitz has it wrong. Rich Hendlowitch my partner of 18 yrs did not die of AZT-induced lymphoma. I know that for a fact. Rich Berkowitz was also not at his beside while dying so that story is totally untrue. Do not understand why Mr Berkowitz would use this forum on Martin Delaney to make his point about the drug AZT? Shame on you Mr Berkowitz.
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Comment by: Richard Berkowitz (NYC) Thu., Feb. 19, 2009 at 11:55 am UTC
I'm also sad to hear of the death of Martin Delaney. Empowering people with AIDS is always a good thing, but as we mourn the passing of people who got off their butts and actually tried to help, let' s not forget that to err is human and that to learn from our mistakes is important too. One of the most tragic scandals of the late 1980s was the near-fascist push to get people with AIDS onto AZT, a drug that was shelved years before for its severe toxicities. No one knew what the proper dose was but that didn't stop desperate people facing death to try literally anything. My best friend, Rich Hendlowitch died from AZT, or more specifically what came be known as AZT-induced lymphoma. I begged my dear friend not to go on AZT but the pressure to do what everyone else was doing, was insurmountable. As we know today, the proper dose when using AZT as part of combination therapy is a mere fraction of what was prescribed in the late 80s. Martin was a fierce advocate of the push to get as many people with AIDS as possible on AZT back, which did MUCH more harm than good. It shortened the lives of people who might have lived long enough to see the effective class of anti-HIV meds that came along in the early 90s, such as my late friend Rich who, as he lay dying, talked to me about knowing that his death was hastened by AZT. Can we honor the good people did without turning a blind eye to their mistakes? I hope so, and Lord knows, I've made enough of my own in my published writing. Rest in peace, Martin.
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Comment by: Holger Pfister (Frankfurt, Germany) Wed., Feb. 11, 2009 at 8:15 am UTC
I am sad to hear that Martin has passed away. I met him during my time in SFO at the end of 1980, while I was living in SFO and trying to fight my own HIV infection.

One more of the "early" heros of the fight agains HIV is gone, which is very sad.

May he rest in Peace!

Holger Pfister,
Information about HIV/AIDS in German, based in Frankfurt/Germany
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Comment by: Gary J. Mondfrans, SF/911|G-Shots TV (San Francisco) Fri., Jan. 30, 2009 at 5:58 am UTC

Photo &/or Videos of Marty Delaney needed for Tribute Video.

Perhaps you can assist me in getting photos of Marty or putting me in touch with people who could, I am in particular looking for some video of Marty speaking.
I make video tribute videos movies of times, peoples, places and events who move me which would be suitable for funeral services, memorials and as permanent rembrances . I would be very honored to make a tribute video suitable for use at Martin Delaney's service and or as a permanent video memorial. it would be similar to the presentations I gave to Mayor Gavin Newsom and Phyllis Lyon following the death of gay/marriage civil rights activist Del Martin for those posted during the Proposition 8 campaign,
, and other posted on YouTUBE and on my webpage: .

Please check my 'GShotsTV' channel on YouTUBE including my recent tribute videos to President Barack Ombama and Captain Sullenberger and the other heroes of Flight 1549, the flight crew, first responders, public safety and Joe the citizen alike. , ,

There would be no charge for my videography.

I would like to include as many pictures of Marty including those who were important in his life or which would be meaningful for others to see.

Can you please put me in touch with the people planning the services and/or a memorial and pass this information on to them.

Gary Mondfrans
(650) 219-8188
1011 Turk Street #D-73
San Francisco CA 94102
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Comment by: rob (baltimore, MD) Thu., Jan. 29, 2009 at 9:48 am UTC
It's inspiring to read about someone HIV negative who was truly devoted to changing the lives of people with HIV!
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Comment by: Dick (Botswana) Thu., Jan. 29, 2009 at 8:06 am UTC
The world has lost a great messiah indeed. May his soul rest in peace and may God give this world another man of Martin's calibre.

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Comment by: Grahame Perry (San Francisco, CA ) Thu., Jan. 29, 2009 at 2:00 am UTC
Thanks for your wonderful tribute to Martin Delaney. I think you captured both his significant accomplishments and the qualities and abilities that made him an effective and courageous voice in the fight against HIV. Thanks for the words that summed up why he was a hero and a special "angel" for many of us.
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Comment by: Robertangelo Coppola (Orlando Fl) Wed., Jan. 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm UTC
I'm very sad to hear of the death of Martin Delaney. He was such an inspiration to many of us.I met Martin when he came to Orlando many years ago at a seminar.When I first went on meds, Martin gave me some advise that turned out improved my t cells tremendously. He also encouraged me to stand up to my doctor and myself for what I thought was right. Martin was a true hero and brother to many of us long term survivors in the fight against Aids. We will miss you Martin. God Bless you....
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