Founder of Mississippi HIV clinic commits suicide

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 13 2002 1:00 AM ET

Hamza Brimah, a doctor who founded an HIV treatment clinic in the Mississippi Delta region, died Monday at his home of what was apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Brimah, who was originally from Nigeria, opened the Magnolia Medical Clinic/Greenwood Leflore Hospital HIV Program in 1997 to treat about 10 HIV patients, and the practice had since grown to serve about 200 patients. The clinic received federal funding to treat low-income patients, and recently received a $1 million Health and Human Services grant. "[Brimah's death is] a big loss to the community because I guess I called him my 'communitarian.' He was very much involved in improving the quality of life here in the Delta," said Alfio Rausa, a health official who often worked with Brimah to promote HIV/AIDS prevention. The Mississippi Delta is one of the poorest areas of the nation and has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the South.