Eda Valero-Figueira worked in bilingual and special education for many years, until her professional life was totally changed with the advent of HIV/AIDS. She learned that many of her skills could serve individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS and began as a volunteer in the field in 1983. After a couple of years she realized that she had reached a point where she felt her career was interfering with her volunteering. She left the university setting and dedicated herself full-time to HIV/AIDS work. She has been a prevention specialist, a support counselor to individuals and families, a buddy, a trainer, a program administrator and evaluator, and always an advocate for PLWHA. Like many others who began working early in the epidemic, she has had to wear many hats and has done so with great enthusiasm and total commitment.
Eda went to work for the Federal government to advocate for the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the implementation of the Ryan White programs and was a successful advocate until her retirement in 2007. Since then, she continues to support PLWHA and organizations working with them and has expanded her work to include gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth and foster care.
She now lives in Miami Beach, where she continues her work as a volunteer for the community, while enjoying life (literally) on the beach.