Terence Beirn was born in New York City in 1952. Before attending Yale, Beirn graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy. After earning his Bachelor’s in 1974, Beirn pursued a career in broadcast journalism, becoming a correspondent for KGO in San Francisco until 1984.
That same year, he was diagnosed with AIDS.
Following his diagnosis, Beirn began working with Senator Ted Kennedy on AIDS policy. In 1986, Beirn committed himself entirely to the organization of major AIDS legislation by joining the staff of the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. During his time there, Beirn garnered support for the first comprehensive piece of AIDS legislation, the 1988 HIV Organ Policy Equity Act. The HOPE Act, which was renewed by President Obama in 2013, is a law that modified rules regarding organ donation between HIV-positive individuals. Two years later, Beirn was instrumental in the passage of the Ryan White Care Act, for which he advocated directly with President Bush.
Beirn was a fierce AIDS activist; he was responsible for compiling quarterly directories of AIDS treatment for doctors and patients, fund-raising for AmFAR and other research organizations, and pushing legislation to fund clinical trials of experimental treatments and drugs.
Beirn died at the age of 39 in 1991 from AIDS-related brain cancer.
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