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."


  1. Bruce Mayhall says

    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

  2. clint says

    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.

  3. says

    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..

Leave A Reply