Saturday, November 22, 2008

Deacon Anthony Giambalvo RIP

"Anthony Giambalvo, a dentist who helped found a dental clinic treating AIDS/HIV patients at the height of the AIDS epidemic, died Tuesday of cancer at Christa House, a hospice in West Babylon. He was 75 and had lived in Commack.

A Roman Catholic deacon since 1979, he was asked by Catholic Charities to start the AIDS clinic in their Freeport offices in 1986. When he left seven years later, the clinic, now in a newly constructed wing, was named after him.

Laura A. Cassell, chief executive of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre, said, "Tony had the genuine compassion to see the need in the HIV population and the rare courage to respond when no one else would."

Denise Giambalvo, 42, of Portland, Ore., one of his six children, said that some in her father's profession actually shunned him for his work.
"At that time, people thought you could get AIDS by touching someone, and dentists didn't want to treat AIDS patients," she said, even as others "respected him a great deal and learned from him."

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