Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV in a blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to her daughter, Ariel. She and her husband, Paul, later learned that Elizabeth had unknowingly passed the virus on to Ariel through breast milk and that their son, Jake, had contracted the virus in utero. The Glasers discovered, in the course of trying to treat Ariel, that drug companies and health agencies had no idea that HIV was prevalent among children. The only drugs on the market were for adults; nothing had been tested or approved for children.
Ariel lost her battle with AIDS in 1988. Fearing that Jake's life was also in danger, Elizabeth rose to action. She approached her close friends, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis, for help in creating a foundation that would raise money for pediatric HIV/AIDS research.
The Pediatric AIDS Foundation had one critical mission: to bring hope to children with HIV and AIDS. Elizabeth made her first trip to Washington in 1988, when she met with President and Mrs. Reagan, representatives at NIH, and members of Congress. In 1989, the Foundation held its first fundraiser and awarded its first grant for research on the immune dysfunctions in children living with HIV. Dozens more Washington trips and research grants followed.
Elizabeth lost her own battle with AIDS in 1994, and to honor her legacy, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation was renamed the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). Under this name, EGPAF has become the leading global nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs.
Elizabeth’s legacy lives on in her son, Jake, who is now a healthy young adult.
- The Glaser family's remarkable story In The Absence of Angels is available in both hardcopy and audiobook formats.
- Watch Elizabeth's stirring speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
- Elizabeth sat down with ABC News anchorwoman Diane Sawyer in 1994 for a deeply personal interview on Primetime Live. Watch the replay here.
About the EGPAF Logo
In 1988, Ariel Glaser painted how she envisioned the world — as a beautiful garden kept bright with sunshine and surrounded by love. Her inspiration serves as the EGPAF logo, representing hope for children everywhere.