New York State Senator Tom Duane (D–Manhattan) delivered an impassioned speech in Albany on July 17 on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS. Duane is the first openly HIV-positive and the first openly gay member of the New York State Senate.

Duane was speaking in favor of a measure that would cap “shelter costs” (rent and utilities) to 30 percent of income for people living with HIV/AIDS who receive public assistance.

At times Duane’s voice was angry: “You think it’s funny killing Duane’s bill? You’re not killing my bill, you’re killing people!” And when he recounted the loss and suffering of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the intense emotion of those times rose to the surface, his voice nearly cracking.

“Duane’s speech demonstrates why the first-person voice of people with HIV is so powerful, whether it is on the boards of provider organizations, in our local communities or among elected officials when deliberating public policy,” said POZ founder Sean Strub.

According to The Daily News, Senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr., both Democrats, gave Duane a standing ovation. The rest of the Democrats followed, but the Republicans did not join in.

Watch the speech: