June 27, 2011
Tribute: Allen Anthony Huff, 1960-2011
by Bob Pelham
It was at the POZ Life Expo in Houston where I first saw Allen Huff and said to myself, Why can’t I ever meet a lug like that?—he was 6'4" and weighed 260 pounds—but be careful what you ask for. As I was to discover, he was a simple yet complicated mass of muscle who soon became my life partner for more than 11 years.
Allen was a silent soldier in the fight against AIDS. Where I had learned my activism from the likes of Bob Hattoy, Larry Kramer and Sean Strub, he learned to fight the battle from the side of using science and raising money in the hopes of finding a cure. Where I was helping plan protests, marching in ACT UP demonstrations and creating havoc against pharmaceutical companies, he was writing medical papers, publishing articles in POZ, RITA! and other AIDS journals, as well as participating in countless world AIDS conferences, antiretroviral conferences and even ICAAC, the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Allen was a forerunner in testing out experimental therapies and drug trials, many of which resulted in undesired side effects—including his blindness, liver failure, pancreatitis, neuropathy, and many other bizarre illnesses—all the while believing he could help find a cure for the next generation that was moving forward with HIV.
Allen also served on the board of the national organization AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families; The Center for AIDS Information and Advocacy; Houston’s People with AIDS Coalition; and the Houston Wellness Center. During all of this he also created the Huff Fund, a foundation to raise money to support those living with HIV/AIDS.
I think his greatest gift in his battle against AIDS was helping me raise more than $2 million in the fight against AIDS. Together, and through the Huff Fund, we worked with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the DISHES Project, The Center for AIDS, Classical Action, AIDS Foundation Houston and Camp Hope (Texas’s only camp for HIV-positive children) in an effort to bring much-needed money to support those living with HIV/AIDS.
While we were no longer partners when he passed, we remained the best of friends and will always be connected through the shared goal we had in the fight against this disease.
It can’t be said any better than the way his surviving partner, and my friend, Chuck said it: “He will always be remembered for his love of life, his kind and gentle spirit and his fierce determination to take care of his own health while advocating and doing hands-on care for others with the disease.”
You will be greatly missed, my good friend.
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