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Dr. Joel Weisman, Promininent AIDS Doctor and Advocate, Dies

Dr. Joel Weisman, one of the first physicians to detect AIDS, died Saturday from complications due to heart disease according to Bill Hutton, his partner of 17 years, the L.A. Times reports:

Weisman "Weisman was a general practitioner in Sherman Oaks in 1980 when he noticed a troubling pattern: He had three seriously ill patients with the same constellation of symptoms, including mysterious fevers, rashes, drastic weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. All were gay men whose problems seemed to stem from defects in their immune systems. The physician wound up referring two of the patients to UCLA immunologist Martin S. Gottlieb, who had a gay male patient with a similarly strange array of afflictions. Recognizing that these were not isolated cases, Weisman and Gottlieb wrote a report that appeared in the June 5, 1981, issue of the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That report signaled the official start of the epidemic that the federal agency later named acquired immunodeficiency syndrome."

Weisman went on to become a national advocate for the battle against the disease, AIDS Project Los Angeles reports in a statement. Elizabeth Taylor said of Weisman: "He is pre-eminent in the development of treatments which have dramatically improved the quality of lives for people with AIDS… [and] among the first to lead the nation in caring for those in need. His compassion and sensitivity are incomparable."

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  1. Additionally, Dr. Weissman was a founding Board member of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research:

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Jul 24, 2009 9:39:20 AM

  2. Actually I think they mean "Michael Gottlieb" not "Martin Gottlieb."

    Posted by: Diogenes | Jul 24, 2009 9:47:21 AM

  3. Ah well; 66 is a good innings.
    Rest in peace, Dr. Weisman.

    Posted by: PM | Jul 24, 2009 9:56:08 AM

  4. Our thoughts go out to Bill. They were a sweet couple and Joel will be missed.

    Posted by: tommy | Jul 24, 2009 10:28:27 AM

  5. 66 is a "good innings"???? I remember when I was a youth in the 60s and we thought everyone over 30 should just go ahead and die (remember one of our key dictums by which to live was "never trust anyone over 30"). Well, I turn 60 this year and I'm telling you -- 66 AIN'T "good innings." I have a lot more to contribute and a thirst for many more years of productive service to the gay community and the broader world. So, please reserve your age-ism for about 40 years and then see if you feel that 66 is "good innings."

    Best for a long and fruitful life!
    Bruce Mayhall
    Artistic Director
    Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

    Posted by: Bruce Mayhall | Jul 24, 2009 10:34:49 AM

  6. What a wonderful generous face. Thank you Sir for all you did to make Earth a better place. My condolences to his partner and his family.

    Posted by: pete | Jul 24, 2009 11:49:45 AM

  7. If gay people ever have a canon of saints, he's gotta be a on it with a double solemnity feast day. RIP Dr. Weisman. Lots of love and sympathy to his partner and family too.

    Posted by: clint | Jul 24, 2009 11:59:20 AM

  8. another silent gay hero. contributed to our community and will be missed.

    Posted by: brian | Jul 24, 2009 6:16:14 PM

  9. Met Joel on OilcanHarrys dancefloor in '78-later urged him to come out to his office staff. He urgently warned me to be cautious in late '80 which I took to heart..By Aug '85 we created beginnings of hospital visitor volunteers in his S.Oaks unit This grew to near 120 persons city/countywide !Had put in 6000 hours over next 11 years with many memories-no regrets. Am deeply moved by his passing and forever inspired by his caring personality..

    Posted by: rick mechtly | Jul 25, 2009 12:55:00 AM

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