Remembering Dennis deLeon

Dennis deLeon (1948 - 2009) was the former Human Rights Commissioner of New York City and former President of the Latino Commission on AIDS. Dennis stood tall in the fight against AIDS as an advocate and leader for the Latino and the LGBT communities.

Living with HIV since 1988, Dennis publicly announced his HIV status in 1993 in a courageous op-ed in the New York Times. Dennis was courageous, vocal, inspirational, and perhaps most significantly, able to convert his most personal moments of despair into hope for others. From that time on, there was no issue, no battle, no contest that was too great for him to take on.

Since 1993, Dennis achieved many victories for the Latino Commission on AIDS. Under his leadership, the Commission established the first Spanish-language treatment education program offered nationally and pioneered a national social marketing campaign in National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (October 15) to raise the visibility of AIDS and the importance of HIV testing. He guided the Commission to create an unprecedented program that builds the capacity of church leaders to minister to the community needs related to the disease.

After 10 years of his passing, December 15, 2009, Dennis' prevailing voice lives on through the Latino Commission on AIDS, through the lives of the people he touched and cared for, and through us- people who want to end HIV/AIDS and make a difference in people's lives.

- The Staff and Board of Directors of the Latino Commission on AIDS