Hydeia Broadbent, HIV Activist, Living With HIV/AIDS From Childhood Dies At 39

Hydeia Broadbent, who gained prominence as a child living with HIV/AIDS, has passed away at the age of 39.

Her father, Loren Broadbent, shared the heartbreaking news of her demise on Wednesday, Feb. 21, via Facebook. “With great sadness, I must inform you all that our beloved friend, mentor, and daughter Hydeia, passed away today after living with AIDS since birth,” he wrote alongside a photo of her. “Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Hydeia remained determined to spread hope and positivity through education around HIV/AIDS,” he added.

Broadbent’s activism commenced at a tender age. She was abandoned as an infant at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, where she was subsequently adopted.

Diagnosed as HIV-positive at the age of 3, with progression to AIDS, although it was suspected she contracted the illness at birth, doctors had initially predicted she wouldn’t live past the age of 5.

During her childhood, Broadbent appeared on a 1992 Nickelodeon special about HIV/AIDS alongside Magic Johnson, shortly after the basketball legend disclosed his HIV diagnosis. She also shared her story on various television programs, including Oprah, 20/20, and Good Morning America.

Magic Johnson paid tribute to Broadbent on X, formerly known as Twitter, acknowledging her courageous advocacy and impactful contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS. “Hydeia changed the world with her bravery, speaking about how living with HIV affected her life since birth,” he wrote. “Thanks to Hydeia, millions were educated, stigmas were broken, and attitudes about HIV/AIDS were changed.”

Throughout the years, Broadbent dedicated herself to educating individuals living with HIV/AIDS about abstinence, safe sex practices, and raising awareness for prevention. Her mission was to inform and foster dialogue about HIV/AIDS in various settings.

Following her passing, actress Jurnee Smollett, who had been best friends with Broadbent since the age of 13, shared a heartfelt message, expressing admiration for her resilience and dedication to combating stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS. “My warrior woman, who literally fought her entire life to save the lives of others, Hydeia raised the consciousness and fought to destigmatize issues around HIV/AIDS,” Smollett wrote. “Hydeia made us all better. SHE LITERALLY BLAZED TRAILS WHERE THERE WERE NONE.”