April 15, 2004 by

Keith Cylar

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Categories: Misc.

kcylar.jpgAIDS activist Keith Cylar died on April 5 of cardioarrhythmia. He was 45.
Born in Norfolk, Va., Cylar earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. During the 1980s, he worked as a therapist and social worker at Creedmoor Psychiatric Hospital, the Lower East Side Service Center and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Cylar was diagnosed with AIDS in 1989. For the next 15 years, he dedicated himself to helping other AIDS patients. He created the housing arm of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and lobbied for the development of federal legislation to create and fund HIV/AIDS service programs. In 1990, Cylar joined forces with his partner Charles King and lawyer Virginia Shubert to found Housing Works, one of the largest AIDS self-help efforts in the United States.
Housing Works provides social services like health and mental care, and finds shelter for thousands of homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. Cyler helped the Rand Corporation research the cost-effectiveness of HIV services. He also labored as an investigator with the Beth Israel Medical Center to provide minority patients with better access to AIDS clinical trials.

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