BALTIMORE, OCT. 5 -- A founder of Maryland's AIDS program, found to have the disease in July after four years as the state's primary AIDS spokesman, has succumbed to the disease.
Scott H. Stamford, 38, died Sunday.
Stamford spoke openly in August about his impending death during several interviews.
"I don't have fear of death," he said. "It's going to be all right. I may be a little bit scared when the time comes, but I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of what I have accomplished. What else matters?"
Stamford became involved in the AIDS program after his lover, Larry Whited, died in his arms in July 1983, becoming one of the first Marylanders to be killed by acquired immune deficiency syndrome, which was primarily affecting gay men and intravenous drug users.
Stamford left a thriving career in the pharmaceutical industry to start the state's AIDS program in 1983. He was hired as program coordinator, working with the Health Education Resource Organization, a group he had helped found. Stamford ran the program until an expansion and reorganization early last summer and retained a key role until recent weeks, when his illness prevented him from working.
Stamford said he hoped his candor about his illness would encourage more open discussion of AIDS, more humane treatment of patients and a greater commitment by Marylanders to stop its spread.
He added, "My life is coming to a close, but I feel like I want to do something to warn all the people who have sat idly by and thought this is someone else's problem.
"Some people want to think it's this group or that group that gets AIDS. They're hiding their heads in the sand. This group or that group turns out to be their brother, their sister, someone they love," he said.
Born in Takoma Park in 1948, Stamford grew up in Silver Spring. He graduated from the University of Baltimore in 1975 and then spent more than five years as a sales representative for pharmaceutical company. In 1982, he joined a surgical supply company, training surgeons in the use of a new surgical stapling device. After about a year in that job, he returned to the drug company's Texas headquarters. He returned to Baltimore in 1983.