Dallas dentist Carole Ann Boyd has treated HIV- and AIDS-positive Texans with dignity since the 1980s. Her embrace of the LGBTQ+ community more broadly is even more personally meaningful.
PRIDE MONTH this past June—and, indeed, every June—has special resonance for Dr. Carole Ann Boyd. In 1984, as a recent graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, she diagnosed a new dental patient with AIDS—an illness the Centers for Disease Control had given a name to only two years earlier.
Today, 37 years later, Dr. Boyd reflects on a career that has focused in no small part on the dental health of the LGBTQ+ community. She was instrumental in creating, in 1991, the Ryan White Dental Clinic at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, which she led as its inaugural dental director. Then, returning to Dallas in 1992, she reestablished dental operations at the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic for AIDS Research and was its director of dental services for the next half-decade.
Her work sparked a deeper personal recognition, too: that she was gay and had been closeted throughout her adult life. Now, having been out for many years, she’s fully at peace with herself—and justifiably proud of her early work with HIV/AIDS patients, particularly at a time when the disease carried such an extraordinary stigma. “It’s usually our fear of the unknown that keeps us from doing the right thing,” Dr. Boyd says. Four decades of doing the right thing mark her as especially fearless.
To read more of Dr. Boyd’s story, check out TheDailyFloss.com, refreshed every weekday with news, oddities and other items of interest to dentists everywhere.