I met him a few times while I worked at LGNY (a now-defunct LGBT weekly newspaper in New York City reborn as Gay City News) and reconnected when I started working at POZ.
The reaction from the HIV/AIDS community to his death has been overwhelmingly supportive. In particular, POZ founder Sean Strub wrote a touching memorial.
In 1998 and 1999, Dennis wrote three first-person stories for POZ on his views on living with HIV. Sharing his stories, in his own words, is the best tribute I can make for Dennis.
May 1998 - "Life: Good Pill Hunting"
July 1998 - "In the Blood"
These past years when there was no hope, meds were like life rafts on the Titanic. But after being sweet-talked into believing that protease combos are a path to the future, I have come to learn that this new car may break down in the middle of a desert ...
The clear-minded Dennis knows that we’re at the iron-lung stage of HIV, subjecting our bodies to heavy-handed therapies while awaiting a Jonas Salk. The good, grateful, nonwhiny Dennis knows that he wouldn’t be around to taste his mother’s huevos rancheros without the new treatments.
And because my tenacity in fighting HIV is learned from [my mother], I want to help her to see the hope that comes from speaking your mind, challenging medical authorities ... I want to remind her how to kick ass.March 1999 - "Life After Legacy"
Before AIDS, I was one of the world’s many lawyer-careerists extraordinaire, always building that résumé for the future and never burning a bridge. I relished making money and playing a lawyer’s behind-the-scenes role as much as I did giving advice to clients.
All of this changed when I tested positive in 1986. While I had many reactions, one main concern shifted to leaving a legacy ... As I eventually came to understand, it’s not how many clippings you accumulate, but how many lives you touch.