1972 - 1994

“As gay young people, we are marginalized. As young people who are HIV-positive and have AIDS, we are totally written off.”

 – Pedro Zamora

Pedro Zamora was a leap year baby born into poverty on February 29, 1972 in Havana, Cuba.  At age 8, Zamora, along with his parents and two of his seven siblings, immigrated to the U.S., settling in Hialeah, Florida. After his mother died of skin cancer the 13 year old Pedro threw himself into schoolwork and extracurricular activities as a means of coping with her death. Zamora discovered he was HIV positive at age 17 after attempting to donate blood. After a case of shingles, Zamora wished to educate himself about staying heathy and joined the Miami AIDS resource center, Body Positive. Meeting others with HIV motivated Zamora to dedicate his life to helping prevent the rise of HIV infection among teens. Zamora entered the national spotlight as an AIDS advocate. He was soon featured in a front page article of the Wall Street Journal as well as several national TV interviews including Oprah Winfrey. In 1993, he testified before Congress about HIV/AIDS awareness and education stating, "If you want to reach me as a young gay man, especially a young gay man of color, then you need to give me information in a language and vocabulary I can understand and relate to." In 1994 Zamora was chosen as a cast member on the third season of the MTV reality show, The Real World San Francisco. As the first out gay and HIV-positive person on a series, Zamora used the opportunity to raise AIDS awareness, as well as educate viewers and housemates on other LGBT issues. While on the show Zamora began dating HIV-positive AIDS activist, Sean Sasser and the two exchanged rings in the Real World loft. Towards the end of filming Zamora’s health began to rapidly decline. He died on November 11, 1994, one day after the final episode of The Real World San Francisco aired. He was subsequently honored by President Bill Clinton for his HIV/AIDS awareness work and SW 59th Street in Miami bears the name “Pedro Zamora Way”.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Latinx

Nations Affiliated Cuba United States

Era/Epoch AIDS Era (1980-present) Information Age (1970-present)

Field(s) of Contribution

Advocacy & Activism


Social Justice


US History

Commemorations & Honors

National Pedro Zamora Foundation in Honor of Zamora

The Pedro Zamora Memorial Fund Ceated by the AIDS Action Foundation

The Pedro Zamora Youth HIV Clinic in Honor of Zamora

The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship in Honor of Zamora

SW 59th Street in Miami Also Named Pedro Zamora Way

National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument Inductee (2019)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Carrie Maxwell
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell