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Legislator steps down to direct HIV group

Carl Sciortino.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff/file 2012

Carl Sciortino.

State Representative Carl M. Sciortino is stepping down from the Legislature to become the executive director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of those living with and vulnerable to HIV.

Sciortino, among the most vocally liberal members of the state House of Representatives, said Tuesday he had enjoyed his nine years on Beacon Hill but was thrilled about the new position.

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“I have loved my time in the state Legislature and obviously loved being an advocate for social and economic justice,” he said in a short telephone interview. “I don’t walk away lightly, but this was an opportunity that I was really excited about.”

Sciortino, an openly gay Medford Democrat who won his first State House race in a 2004 campaign that pivoted on the issue of same-sex marriage, said he would resign his seat April 4.

The 35-year-old, who said he has “had HIV for years,” will be become the first person with HIV to be the executive director of the nonprofit, founded in 1982.

“I think it’s fantastic to be the first person in the organization’s history to be executive director and living with HIV,” the representative said.

Sciortino ran for Congress last year, losing the primary to Katherine Clark, for the seat formerly held by Edward J. Markey.

But Sciortino gained national attention for a playful TV ad with his father, which emphasized his progressive credentials, in contrast with his father’s more conservative leanings.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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