Munson Health
Where We Get Our Name

Where Do We Get Our Name

The Thomas Judd Care Center was founded in October 1994 in honor of Michigan native Thomas Judd. Tom contracted HIV/AIDS at age 19 while living in New York City to pursue his education and a career in the arts. He first became ill in 1982, long before the medical community had identified the virus that would claim the lives of more than 30 million people in the next 30 years.

Tom was treated for several illnesses after he first experienced flu-like symptoms. He recovered and went on with his life. Tom became ill again in 1989. At home near Detroit, he sought treatment and mentioned a disease affecting gay men in New York City. At the time, only one case of HIV/AIDS had been documented in Detroit. Tom was tested and his fear was confirmed when he was told he was HIV positive.  

After his diagnosis, Tom moved to Bellaire to live with his sister and her family. As more people became infected and the death toll climbed, Tom decided it was his responsibility to urge young people to learn about the disease and take all precautions to avoid contracting HIV. He appeared on panels in community forums, hospitals, and local colleges.  Tom soon became the "face of AIDS" in northern Michigan.  

Following his death in 1993, the Thomas Judd Care Center was founded in memorial to his tireless work to educate the public about HIV/AIDS, and to promote understanding and compassion for those struggling with the disease.

With new treatments, HIV/AIDS deaths have declined steadily since 1995, but the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is increasing. More people living longer with HIV increases the likelihood of transmission to others. The Thomas Judd Care Center continues to provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS across northern Michigan from US-10 to the Mackinaw Bridge and eastern Upper Peninsula.

Thomas Judd photo