Elizabeth Glaser

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Elizabeth Glaser
Elizabeth Meyer

(1947-11-11)November 11, 1947
DiedDecember 3, 1994(1994-12-03) (aged 47)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Known forAIDS activist and celebrity spouse
Contracted HIV through blood transfusion
SpousePaul Michael Glaser
ChildrenAriel Glaser (1981–1988)
Jake Glaser (b. 1984)

Elizabeth Glaser (born Elizabeth Meyer; (1947-11-11)November 11, 1947 – (1994-12-03)December 3, 1994) was an American AIDS activist and child advocate married to actor and director Paul Michael Glaser. She contracted HIV very early in the modern AIDS epidemic after receiving an HIV-contaminated blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth. Like other HIV-infected mothers, Glaser unknowingly passed the virus to her infant daughter, Ariel, through breastfeeding. She was born in 1981 and died in 1988. The Glasers' son Jake, born in 1984, contracted HIV from his mother in utero, but has lived into adulthood.


Ariel Glaser had developed advanced AIDS at a time when the medical community knew very little about the disease, and there were no available treatment options; she suffered some of the same ostracism[vague] from her school as Ryan White experienced.[1]

Early in 1987, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally approved AZT as an effective drug to extend the lives of AIDS patients, but the approval only extended to adults. With their daughter's condition rapidly deteriorating, the Glasers fought to have her treated with AZT intravenously. However, the treatment came too late, and the child eventually succumbed to the disease late in the summer of 1988.[2]


The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a major force in funding the study of pediatric HIV problems and tackling juvenile AIDS, both domestically and globally. Her book In the Absence of Angels (1991), written with journalist Laura Palmer, was described as "a handbook of how the connected make waves in America".[3]

Glaser entered the national spotlight as a speaker at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, where she criticized the federal government's under-funding of AIDS research and its lack of initiative in tackling the AIDS crisis.[4] This speech is listed as #79 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).[5]

The AIDS Memorial Quilt contains five panels with Elizabeth Glaser and her daughter Ariel Glaser's name on each of them, three panels with Elizabeth Glaser's name alone on each of them, and two panels with Ariel Glaser's name alone on each of them.[6]

Elizabeth Glaser died at the age of 47, from complications of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), at her home in Santa Monica on December 3, 1994.[7] Her son Jake later became a public speaker on behalf of AIDS patients. Jake remains relatively healthy due to a mutation of the CCR5 gene that protects his white blood cells.[1]

See also[edit]

Martin Gaffney - Gaffney contracted the HIV virus from his wife Mutsuko Gaffney who, like Elizabeth Glaser, was infected via a tainted blood transfusion and had two children contract HIV from their mother in utero.


  1. ^ a b Joanne, Fowler (April 7, 2008). "Jake Glaser Alive and Thriving". People. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  2. ^ "Breaking a Silence: 'Starsky' Star, Wife Share Their Family's Painful Battle Against AIDS". Los Angeles Times. 25 August 1989. Archived from the original on June 24, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2006 – via The Official Website of Paul Michael Glaser.
  3. ^ Kevles, Bettyann (March 3, 1991). "The Youngest Victims of AIDS". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Glaser, Elizabeth. "1992 Democratic National Convention Address". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  5. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller (2009-02-13). "Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century by Rank". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  6. ^ "Search the Quilt — The Names Project". Aidsquilt.org. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  7. ^ Kennedy, Randy (1994-12-04). "Elizabeth Glaser Dies at 47; Crusader for Pediatric AIDS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-04.

External links[edit]