On Saturday, anti-Semitic gunman Robert Bowers opened fire on attendees at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As names of those killed in the shooting were released throughout the weekend, people began to pay tribute to the 11 victims, including Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh-based doctor who helped treat patients living with HIV.
According to Michael Kerr, a New York City-based activist and member of ACT UP, Rabinowitz, 66, treated HIV-positive people prior to the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy, when few doctors were willing to even touch those living with HIV. Kerr wrote on his Facebook about Rabinowitz and what it was like to be in his care.
“Before there was effective treatment for fighting HIV itself, he was known in the community for keeping us alive the longest,” Kerr wrote. “He often held our hands (without rubber gloves) and always always hugged us as we left his office.”
Kerr remembered Rabinowitz telling him that he needed to start on medications in November 1995, before HAART, when AZT was one of the few treatment options available to HIV-positive people.
“Thank you Dr. Rabinowitiz for having always been there during the most terrifying and frightening time of my life. You will be remembered by me always. You are one of my heroes just like the early ACT UP warriors — some of which I now call friends,” Kerr wrote.
According to NBC, Rabinowitz is survived by his wife, Miri, his mother, Sally and his brother, Bill.
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