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Pedro Zamora
(February 29, 1972 - November 11, 1994) Cuba - U.S.A.

Pedro Zamora

Activist and TV-star

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Born in Cuba, Pedro Zamora went to Miami in the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. His mother died of cancer in 1985. After which, his search for love led him to be very promiscuous. He was diagnosed HIV+ in 1989. After a year of keeping quiet, the senior at Hialeah High School, volunteered to do a report on AIDS.

His presentation and knowledge so impressed his teacher, that he was asked to give more talks. His disease suddenly seemed to have a meaning and a purpose, he found an outlet for his anger. Requests for him to speak began to pour in, so many that he had to quit his job to keep up with them.

In schools he may have had his greatest impact. He passed around condoms in the classroom, and refused to mince words. He openly told students that he got HIV because he had unprotected sex. He honestly told them he would probably not live to the age of 30, and if they were not careful, it could happen to any student in the room. By mid-1993 he was traveling across the country talking about AIDS, addressing Congress, and serving on dozens of task forces and panels.

Pedro Zamora
Pedro Zamora, San Francisco, c. 1994. Photo c/o MTV

In January 1994 he was picked as a cast member of MTV's "The Real World, San Francisco" (1994). The show provided him with a national audience, a platform to educate and teach America. Suddenly millions of Americans now knew someone with AIDS. The Real World also chronicled his relationship with Sean Sasser, a San Francisco AIDS educator. Pedro and Sean had a ring ceremony on the show and brought a loving open gay relationship to American TV. The show finished taping in July.

Pedro ZamoraPedro fell ill in mid-August 1994 while in New York to tape CBS This Morning. He was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital and diagnosed with PML (progressive multifocal leukoencophalopathy) a brain infection found in about 5% of AIDS patients. On October 15 he was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Miami, where he soon lapsed into a coma.

Shortly before his death, with help from President Clinton, three of his brothers, and one sister were able to emigrate from Cuba to be by his side. "Having the whole family together was something Pedro always wanted" his sister said. Pedro's 5 year crusade against AIDS ended Friday November 11, 1994 at 4:40 am at Mercy Hospital . The day after the final episode of The Real World was aired on MTV.

Pedro Zamora died of AIDS-related toxoplasmosis; he was twenty-two. During the final months of his life, Zamora's family prohibited Sean Sasser from visiting his hospital room.

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Website: http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/1635/pedro.html - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/

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