“Bitches with a mission” is how Roxy Ventola described herself and best friend and co-conspirator Mary Lucey. The pair often spent their downtime plotting diabolical schemes against bureaucratic health agencies. “We live for revenge,” said Roxy, profiled in POZ No. 3. “I don’t have a lot of time. Once you realize it’s futile, you just try and chip away.” She did: By scripting the TV movie, And Then There Was One, about losing her first husband and daughter to AIDS; by writing and acting in the play AIDS/US/Women; and by becoming a litigant in the ACLU’s class action suit against the AIDS Clinical Trials Group for excluding women from its trials.

Roxy had a fantasy of strapping a bomb to her chest and rolling into Anthony Fauci’s office at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. While she may not have gone out with the explosiveness she desired, her legacy to the AIDS community and those who knew her will have even greater impact.