Celebrating Senator Dianne Feinstein, an Early Leader on HIV/AIDS

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Serving in the United States Senate for more than 30 years, Senator Dianne Feinstein enjoyed an illustrious political career and will be remembered for her pioneering achievements and her unstinting dedication to a range of important issues and causes, including HIV/AIDS.

The first woman from California to be elected to the Senate, Sen. Feinstein was also the first woman to be elected mayor of San Francisco in 1979. When the city became ground zero during the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s, she was among the first to call for funding for AIDS research, announcing a plan to invest nearly $300,000 in research in 1982, just a year after the first cases of AIDS had been reported.

As mayor, Feinstein worked closely with San Francisco’s health director, Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, who went on to become president of amfAR in 1986 and remains a member of the Board of Trustees.

Among many actions in support of the fight against AIDS, Sen. Feinstein signed legislation prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV in housing, employment, medical services, and business. As recently as 2000, she joined a group of Senators calling for funding for HIV treatment and prevention to be included in the government’s coronavirus response package.

“Sen. Feinstein will be remembered and celebrated for many outstanding accomplishments and for achieving numerous firsts during her long and distinguished career in U.S. politics,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “At amfAR, we will remember her with appreciation and admiration as one of the first political figures to support a robust response to HIV/AIDS, and we are profoundly grateful for her unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of all people living with HIV.” 

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