Peta, Half Sioux, Half White, Changed the Face of AIDS


His name was Peta.  He was a strikingly beautiful man and he lived in a divided world of halves.  He was half white an half Native American, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  He was also gay.  And he contracted HIV, then AIDS.

Peta was a volunteer who helped others at Pater Noster House, an AIDS hospice in Columbus, Ohio, where he would see clearly before his eyes his own terrible fate unfolding.  He himself would succumb two years later, in 1992.  The Kirby family, whose son, David, Peta cared for in 1990 as he lost his battle with AIDS, would care for Peta on his final journey too.

Peta, along with a young photographer, Therese Frare, would be in the right place at the right time to change the face of AIDS and the perceptions the rest of the Nation had of AIDS patients.

Life magazine has revisited those infamous photographs and tells the story of David Kirby, Peta and Therese in a most memorable article with unforgetable photographs.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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3 Responses to Peta, Half Sioux, Half White, Changed the Face of AIDS

  1. petussing says:

    What was his name? Where did he live? One place calls him “Patrick Church”, which is not true. Why are people hiding Peta?

    • Kellie says:

      If you do not know his name then how do you know it is not Patrick Church. I believe that Therese Frare knew him quite well and if his name was not Patrick Church she would not have allowed it to be put in the Time article that included the photos that she took of Peta and of David Kirby as they both died of AIDS at Pater Noster House in Columbus, OH.

  2. He was born Patrick Church but was known as Peta.

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