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HIV/AIDS outreach pioneer to be honored

A June 18 ceremony at Guild Hall in East Hampton will honor Rose Walton, an HIV/AIDS outreach pioneer and, until she retired more than 15 years ago, director of the AIDS Education and Resource Center at Stony Brook University.

Tom Kirdahy, a producer and former chairman of the East End Gay Organization, said that Walton, who lives in Southampton Town, made AIDS care possible for many at a time when little was being done to deal with the disease. “She made all the HIV services on Long Island happen...she opened the door for all of us,” he said.

The event, which is supported by the East End arts community, will feature presentations by playwright and author Larry Kramer, who co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1981, and playwright Terrence McNally.

The event is being timed to coincide with the renaming of Southampton Hospital’s its HIV/AIDS center to the Rose Walton Care Services at the David E. Rogers MD Center for HIV and AIDS.

The first case of AIDS was diagnosed 30 years ago, and hospital officials said it was appropriate to mark that milestone by honoring Walton’s “commitment and concern for those living with HIV/AIDS.”

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