Feature story

In Memory of Allan Dunaway: Founder and President of Honduras National Association of people living with HIV

29 January 2009

By Rodrigo Pascal, UNAIDS Partnerships Officer

Allan Dunaway
Allan Dunaway, Founder and President of Honduras National Association of people living with HIV.

It is indeed sad news to hear of the passing of Allan Dunaway who died in San Pedro de Sula, Honduras on 25 January 2009 at the age of 39.

Allan was one of the earliest AIDS activists in Latin America and he dedicated 18 years to supporting people living with HIV struggle for the right to treatment access in his country.

Allan and his beloved wife Rosa González were the first couple in Honduras to publicly declare that they were living with HIV. They were co-founders of Fundacion Llaves, which provides care and support for people living with HIV and Allan was the founding member and President for two consecutive periods of the Honduras National Association of people living with HIV. He was also the Chair of San Pedro de Sula National AIDS Forum.

Allan never doubted that he had to give a face to AIDS; and he made it clear from the beginning days of his activism that he had a responsibility to speak for those who had no voice.

Allan's wife Rosa González

The words of his wife Rosa resonate with my memories of Allan as being by nature a quiet person but who was determined to highlight important issues on behalf of others: “Allan never doubted that he had to give a face to AIDS; and he made it clear from the beginning days of his activism that he had a responsibility to speak for those who had no voice.” Allan was tireless in his efforts to make a difference. He reached out to local organizations and community groups building capacity and empowering them to organize events, marches and workshops. He also conducted workshops on managing funds and administration. He believed in the power of collaboration and worked hard to ensure that different organizations were informed of each other's activities and so strengthen the overall impact of their projects.

Allan was an assiduous advocate of human rights and worked closely with the National Commissioner for Human Rights to end discrimination against people living with HIV.

One of the proudest moments for Allan was to hear his 13-year-old daughter Keren deliver a breathtaking speech on behalf of young people living with HIV to thousands of delegates from around the globe at the opening of 2008 International AIDS Conference.

Allan also attended the High Level Meeting in New York in June 2008 when he and Rosa and a group of women living with HIV met with the UN Deputy Secretary-General.

Speaking of the loss, Richard Stern of Agua Buena Human Rights Association said: “Allan was a hero in a political struggle for human rights, but most of all he was a devoted husband and father. He will be sorely missed by all of us who worked with him for so many years.”

This is indeed a sad loss for Rosa and Keren. As a family, the Dunaways have been passionate advocates for universal access to care, support and treatment for those living with HIV, particularly in Latin America. I have no doubt Rosa and Keren by continuing their advocacy will keep Allan’s memory alive.

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