NEW YORK — Alison Gertz, who said she contracted the AIDS virus during her first sexual encounter at age 16--and who publicized her misfortune to show that anyone can be at risk--died Saturday. She was 26.
Miss Gertz, whose story was told in the television movie "Something To Live For," died at her parents' home on Long Island in New York, according to family friends.
She said she was exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus the first time she had sex and that she had sex only once with the partner who infected her.
She was not found to have the virus until she was 22, long after her health began to decline.
She blamed the delay on what she said were doctors' assumptions that an affluent heterosexual woman was not at great risk for contracting HIV.
Her father, Jerrold Gertz, is the grandson of a founder of the Gertz department stores. Her mother, Carol, co-founded a national chain of fashion stores called Tennis Lady.
Miss Gertz founded the New York City-based AIDS activist group Love Heals. When her health permitted, she lectured on AIDS to students.
The movie about her life, starring Molly Ringwald, aired on ABC this year.
Her family asked that donations be sent to a group her parents founded--Concerned Parents for AIDS Research.