June 5 is HIV Long-Term Survivors Day
Every year people join together to celebrate and honor the Long-Term Survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Please join us in raising awareness about the needs, issues and journeys of HIV Long-Term Survivors (HLTS) as we mark two significant milestones – it has been 36 years since HIV was identified on June 5, 1981. It is 21 years since Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) became available in the U.S.
The theme for 201& is “Postive Possibilities.” It celebrates those who have defied the odds by living with HIV for decades. Our focus is on ensuring that HIV Long-Term Survivors and Older Adults Living with HIV are not invisible and forgotten in the current HIV dialogue. We want to change the narrative from surviving to thriving and Healthy Aging with HIV. Long-term survival, once an almost unimaginable concept is now the norm—something that was unimaginable before 1996.
With courage and compassion, we survived the darkest days of the plague. Without access to effective treatments, we were forced to rely on each other and ourselves. As individuals and community, we exhibited strength we didn’t know we had. Now we face the conundrums of aging. HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness day is about celebrating our survival and looking forward to envisioning and create the lives we never imagined we’d live.
Today over half of all people living with HIV in the US are over 50. By 2020 that will increase to 70 percent. The new face of HIV is aging.
However, HIV and Aging is not a monolith. Pre-HAART survivors and Post-HAART survivors constitute separate cohorts with overlapping but different medical and psychosocial needs. Longest term survivors face unique social and mental health challenges as well as medical issues none of us ever imagined.
We’re the generation who were told to plan to die young. By the end of that year, in the U.S. we witnessed the deaths of 362,004 of our loved ones and community. 6.4 million people had died from AIDS worldwide.
We chose June 5 to commemorate the day the CDC first announced the mysterious illness that was killing young gay men. It was the beginning of HIV/AIDS awareness before it was known as HIV/AIDS.
There’s a meme that “we lost an entire generation.” While we did a lot of our generation there are by recent estimates, 26% of Longest-Term Survivors alive now. Let’s celebrate, honor and appreciate that they still have years go and it is all our job to help them become the elders of our tribe.
Spread the word about HIV long-term survivors awareness day
Why June 5?
On June 5, 1981 the Centers for Disease Control’s published a notice about cases of a rare pneumonia affecting several young gay men living in Los Angeles. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report notes that two had died from their illness. That piece prompted newspapers in San Francisco then New York.
June 5th 1981 was the beginning of HIV/AIDS Awareness before it had a name.
Read Our Long-Term Survivors Declaration : A Vision For Our Future
The HIV Long-Term Survivors Declaration: A Vision For Our Future has been read or downloaded over 20,000 times! It is used to spark discussions among survivors and groups, health departments and agencies. It is making an impact.Click here to download it.
Creators of HLTSAD
Let’s Kick ASS originated and is the lead organizer of HIV Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day. We’re still waiting for AIDS.gov to include us in the official lists. We ask every year. Don’t wait for them. Plan your events now.