Ronald Johnson is a lifetime advocate for the HIV community. His career spans over three decades of leadership in policy and advocacy to improve our response to the HIV epidemic, keep people living with HIV healthy, and prevent new infections. Ronald is an advocate, mentor, and compass to so many of us in the work.
Looking back on his extensive career, Ronald is most proud of being one of the first people openly living with HIV to serve in public office. In 1992, when he was 44, Ronald was named by Mayor David Dinkins to serve as New York City’s first coordinator for AIDS policy, where he helped strengthen HIV care and treatment across the city.
While he has touched the lives of so many of us, Ronald is shy of the spotlight. When I asked him what this honor means to him, he replied, “I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to combine my personal status as a person living with HIV, with my desire to be involved in responding to HIV. To be recognized for my work is incredibly humbling.”
As Ronald moves on to the next phase of his life, retirement — something that so many of us living with HIV never thought possible—it’s fitting that his lifetime of service to people living with and affected by HIV is recognized through this honor. We wish him all the best and thank him for his years of leadership, friendship, and compassion.
— Jesse Milan, Jr., the president and CEO of AIDS United.