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AIDS Patients Helped Others

February 14, 1996|BETTIJANE LEVINE

Ann Copeland and Steve Hunio, whose stories were told on these pages last year in an article titled "The Changing Face of AIDS," have died of complications from the disease.

Copeland, 47, of Hermosa Beach, died Sunday. She contracted the disease after she briefly broke up with her fiance of eight years and started dating a man she met in an evening course.

"He was a solid, businessman type, divorced and with a small child," she told The Times. Copeland quickly realized she loved her former fiance, Patrick. They reconciled and were married. Copeland then learned that the businessman had died of complications from AIDS, and she tested positive for HIV.

In the early stages of her illness, she co-founded Women at Risk, a support group for HIV-positive women.

Hunio, 37, of Woodland Hills, died Saturday. He never learned how he got the virus.

"I never did IV drugs or had gay sex," he told The Times. "My female friends were girl-next-door types, but one of them must have given me HIV."

He joined AIDS education groups and spoke at schools, alerting young people to the dangers of heterosexually transmitted AIDS.

In 1993 he fell in love with Linda Luschi, co-founder with Copeland of Women at Risk. She had been infected by her college professor husband, who also died without learning how he got the disease.

The pair married in March 1994. Three days later, she was hospitalized. She died after a two-month stay.

"I was with her day and night until the end," Hunio said. His condition worsened steadily after that, but his courage never flagged. He moved into his parents' home and was planning his "recuperation" when The Times last spoke with him in December.

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