"Fifteen years ago, when Pedro Zamora appeared on MTV's 'The Real World,' he changed the face of HIV/AIDS in America," President Bill Clinton wrote for Reuters' Great Debate blog Wednesday (April 1).
Clinton has long been an admirer of Zamora's, a castmember on 1994's San Francisco season. In the same spirit, President Clinton will open the premiere of
The address is not the first time Clinton has been vocal in his support for Zamora and his story — Clinton once phoned Zamora and his family as the season came to a close to thank the young Cuban immigrant for his activism. Shortly following his death (he died the same night of the show's season finale from complications due to his illness), Clinton made a televised address, publicly thanking the late icon for his contribution to AIDS education — which was Zamora's mission ever since he learned that he had contracted the virus at 17. More recently, President Clinton spoke with our own Sway about Zamora's legacy, stating that his endorsement of Zamora "was important ... because not everyone had known somebody who died of AIDS, as Hillary and I had known. Not everyone was comfortable even talking about it, and he changed everything, at least for younger people."
Clinton closed his Great Debate post by writing, "We must remember what Pedro taught us: One person can change the world — and whether or not we are living with HIV or know someone who is, we all have a responsibility as global citizens to do whatever we can. Life is short enough as it is. No one should die from a disease that is both preventable and treatable."
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