State rep. to lead AIDS Action Committee

State Rep. Carl Sciortino will be the new executive director of Jamaica Plain-based AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, and will resign from office April 4 to take the job, the nonprofit announced March 25.

Sciortino is openly gay and is living with HIV, he said in a press release. He takes over for Rebecca Haag, who led the organization for more than 10 years and oversaw its 2009 move from downtown to 75 Amory Ave. in JP.

Founded in 1983, AIDS Action describes itself as New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. It also operates the popular local Boomerangs thrift store.

Sciortino, a Medford resident, currently represents the Somerville and Medford areas in the 34th Middlesex District. AIDS Action did not announce why Haag is leaving.

“As a gay man living with HIV, I am honored to lead one of the country’s oldest and most effective organizations in the battle against this disease which has raged on over 30 years,” said Sciortino in a press release. “My goal for AIDS Action in the years ahead is simple: continue the work that has resulted in lowering the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Massachusetts; provide the multitude of services needed to keep those living with HIV/AIDS connected with health care providers; and continue the public conversation about HIV needed to reduce the stigma that is still so closely associated with this disease.”

“Carl’s entire career has been defined by his work on social justice issues and his advocacy on behalf of those infected, affected, and at risk for HIV,” said Douglas Spencer, chair of the AIDS Action board of directors. “Even with health reform and better access to care, there is still much to do to prevent the spread of HIV and ensure access to care and treatment for all of those who are infected. Carl will lead us into a new era in which we can finally win the battle against HIV and look forward to an AIDS-free generation.”

“Carl has been an invaluable legislative and advocacy partner over the last decade,” Haag said in a press release. “He is uniquely positioned to advance the state and national conversation around treatment and care of those living with chronic conditions, and the need for health care reform to pay for the vital support services necessary to keep treatment costs sustainable.”

Carl Sciortino. (Photo Courtesy AIDS Action Committee)

Carl Sciortino. (Photo Courtesy AIDS Action Committee)

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