It is with great sadness that we recognize the loss of our friend and colleague, Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and a staunch ally in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Dennis passed away of heart failure this morning in New York.
I was privileged to work with Dennis since the early 1990s. He was always a mentor and someone who challenged me to do my work better. And, as Christopher Bates, the director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, says: “Dennis was a hero in the truest sense of that term. He fought for HIV-related issues for Latinos and joined forces with others in the community to ensure that everyone had access to HIV/AIDS care and prevention.”
Dennis was a trailblazer in many ways—his leadership in calling for a National Latino AIDS Agenda and for use of new media by communities of color are just two examples. He worked with us as we planned the original launch of HIV.gov in 2006, and he was a vocal proponent of the need to use new media to serve people living with HIV/AIDS. In particular, he was an advocate of the need for planning in new media work, and we greatly appreciated his insights, advice, and counsel.
The HIV.gov team offers our condolences to Dennis’ partner, Bruce Kiernan, to his family, and to our colleagues at the Latino Commission on AIDS.