This year’s theme “Moving Forward Together,” celebrates those who have defied the odds by living with HIV for decades and now face a myriad of interconnected mental, social and medical challenges rooted in HIV-stigma, aging, ageism, and economic distress that impacts functional health-related quality of life issues.
Let’s Kick ASS the largest grassroots group of HIV long-term survivors anywhere began HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day in 2014 because we were stunned no such day existed.
HIV Long-Term Survivors have different medical needs from other populations. Our social and mental health was not being a addressed. That was then. It’s on a little better now but no where good enough.
We’re asking for your help—survivors in raising awareness about these unique needs as we mark two significant milestones in 2016 –35 years since HIV was identified (June 5, 1981) and 20 years since Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) was introduced.
Long-term survival, once an almost unimaginable concept is now a reality. Let’s Kick ASS is focused is on ensuring that HIV Long-Term Survivors and Older Adults Living with HIV are not invisible and forgotten in the current HIV dialogue.
One thing is clear. We must make mental and social health a priority in AIDS Care. Our care is about more than medications and viral loads. It’s time to change the narrative from surviving to thriving. Achieving that goal mean equipping older adults with HIV tools for healthy aging. Here are some things we need to make Moving Forward Together Forward possible.
We are asking HIV long-term survivors, and those who support and love them, to commit to making these priorities. We want to enlist (nudge) AIDS Service Organizations, mental health and medical providers too.