When Pedro Zamora began his journey on The Real World San Francisco in 1994, he had already been an active HIV/AIDS advocate and educator. At the age of 17, Pedro learned that he was a young man living with HIV and dedicated his life to raising awareness and educating his peers on what they needed to avoid infection.

At the age of 22, Zamora captivated the nation with his openness, compassion, vitality and charisma when he appeared on The Real World and spoke openly about his sexuality, status and activism. On camera, Pedro also spoke about relationship with Sean Sasser, another man of color living with HIV, and, in another historical first, pledged their love in a commitment ceremony on the show.

Pedro’s work was tragically cut short when he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1994, the morning after the final episode of The Real World aired.

In his honor, the National AIDS Memorial created the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship spotlights and supports young leaders who carry the torch of activists like Pedro and mitigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in its current form — in ways inspired by their own passions, insights, originality and conviction.


"There is not one second of my day that I am not aware that I am HIV-positive. I don’t want to forget that I have AIDS, and I don’t want you to forget that I have AIDS. You have to understand AIDS is part of my life. It’s my reality. It’s who I am.”

— Pedro Zamora, Congressional Testimony, July 12 1993

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The National AIDS Memorial brings 40 years of stories from the pandemic – the lives lost, the heroes, the survivors.  Each week we will share new stories that provide a glimpse into the many faces of AIDS from then to now.

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