For Immediate Release
AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) mourns the death of AIDS physician Joel Weisman, D.O., founding chairperson of APLA's Board of Directors and member of the agency's Ambassador Council. Weisman, a pioneer in HIV/AIDS care and research, died at his home in Westwood, California on July 18 at age 66.
In December of 1981, Dr. Weisman co-authored the first report published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (and later in the New England Journal of Medicine) on five cases of a severe pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in otherwise healthy gay men. All five died of what would eventually become known as AIDS.
As a founding chair at APLA, one of the country's leading AIDS service organizations, Weisman played a principal role in the development of services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles. In 1991, he was honored (with Bette Midler and entertainment executives Sidney Sheinberg and Barry Krost) at APLA's Commitment to Life V event. Elizabeth Taylor said of Weisman at the time, "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."
In his 1991 Commitment to Life acceptance speech, Weisman called for a "formulated federal agenda to stop the spread of the disease" -- what would later become a unified call for a national AIDS strategy, an effort that continues today. His remarks came just three weeks after he lost his partner of 10 years, Timothy Bogue, to AIDS. Weisman continued his work with APLA as a member of the agency's Ambassador Council until his death.
Weisman was a co-director of the immune suppressed unit at Sherman Oaks Community Hospital (Southern California's first dedicated AIDS unit) and served on the State of California Task Force on AIDS, the Board of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Medical Advisory Board of what would later become the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.
To his partner, Bill Hutton, his brother, Mark Weisman and his daughter, Stacey Weisman-Bogue Foster, APLA extends its deepest condolences on the loss of an extraordinary physician and friend to people living with HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct care and treatment services to over 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. In 2013, APLA marked its 30th year of operation, and we are a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
APLA Health & Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary medical care, oral healthcare, mental health services, HIV testing, STD screening/ treatment and health education and HIV prevention services targeting low income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness serves over 6,000 individuals across Los Angeles County each year.
For more information, visit apla.org.