The 2015 Aging in America Conference wraps up today in Chicago, IL. This week has provided a unique opportunity for the Diverse Elders Coalition and its members to share their work and connect with thousands of other participants from around the country working on issues of concern for elders. As a first time attendee, I was particularly impressed with (and maybe a bit overwhelmed by) the size and scope of the conference.
I kicked off the conference on the first day with a morning session talking about HIV/AIDS as part of an inter-generational dialogue entitled “Being Gay Ain’t What it Used to Be” with my colleague and friend, Read More
LGBT Health Awareness Week: It’s Time To Come Together
March 23-27 marks National LGBT Health Awareness Week, and we at the Diverse Elders Coalition are excited to raise awareness about the issues facing the LGBTQ communities, especially LGBT older people. The National Coalition for LGBT Health created National LGBT Health Awareness Week in 2003 to promote increased health awareness and outcomes in the LGBT community and promote the need for greater cultural competency in the healthcare system. This year’s theme is “Time to Come Together: Trust, Transparency, Truth.”
Throughout the Week, the Coalition brings together national and state LGBT organizations, health centers, health departments, universities, health organizations,.... Read More
National Native HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day: New Mexico’s Take
March 20th – the first day of spring – marks the 9th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national mobilization effort designed to encourage Natives (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved in prevention, and get treated for HIV and AIDS. The Diverse Elders Coalition is commemorating this important day by offering resources to our constituents and encouraging everyone to get tested and #GetCovered. Remember that American Indians and Alaskan Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage under the ACA at any time of year – no need to wait for a designated enrollment period.
Native Americans are 0.9 percent of the U.S..... Read More
The Diverse Elders Coalition and its five coalition member organizations will all be represented at this year’s Aging in America Conference. In the weeks leading up to the conference, we will be sharing blog posts from coalition members who are presenting or attending ASA, and what it means to them. This week’s post comes from Aaron Tax, JD, Director of Federal Government Relations at SAGE.
In approximately one week, I will be heading to the American Society on Aging convention in Chicago to present on, among other things, HIV/aging, along with HIV and aging experts Mark Brennan-Ing, Richard Gollance, Ron Swanda, and Ben de Guzman of the Diverse Elders Coalition. The.... Read More
Speaking Up on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
On March 10, we observe an annual nationwide event called National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to talk, and raise awareness about, the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls throughout the country, especially older women who face increasing risk of HIV.
While many milestones have been achieved in terms of HIV/AIDS.... Read More
Collecting Stories from Our Communities: The Diverse Elders Stories Initiative
Some of our greatest tools to make positive change on behalf of our constituents are stories from older adults, their loved ones, advocates and community members that illustrate the struggles and triumphs of aging as people of color or LGBTQ people. We share these stories with the public on our blog and through social media to raise awareness of the issues that affect diverse elders. Your stories also allow us to show policymakers the faces behind their proposed policies and programs. With your stories, we are able to advocate for the needs of diverse elders more effectively.
Throughout my time in healthcare education and advocacy, particularly when working with LGBT people and people of color, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories about HIV/AIDS. Living in fear, losing friends and family, lack of information about and access to care – the specter of this disease looms large, particularly over those underserved communities. I remember watching Marlon Riggs’ “Ethnic Notions” in college and then being devastated to learn that we had lost this powerful and talented voice to the AIDS epidemic. This disease has taken far too many of our friends, family members, heroes, and compatriots.
With just one month left in the second round of enrollment for the Marketplace to get health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Diverse Elders Coalition is launching “Sign Up Before the Time’s Up”- a mini campaign for ACA enrollment.
Until the February 15 deadline, new participants can sign up for health care coverage in the Marketplace. Those that are currently receiving health care coverage in the exchange can make adjustments to their plans. Note that American Indians/ Alaska Natives that are members of federally recognized tribes are not subject to deadlines and can enroll at any time.
by Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition National Managing Coordinator
On Tuesday, November 25, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC), in partnership with the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services (HHS), hosted a briefing on the Affordable Care Act and diverse elders. As the new National Managing Coordinator for the DEC, I was excited to open the event by welcoming the audience and introducing Michael Adams, Executive Director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), a DEC member. Michael provided a wealth of data on health care challenges faced by diverse communities, including Latinos, American Indians/ Alaska Natives (AI/ AN), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), African Americans, the LGBT community, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS..... Read More
World AIDS Day: An Intergenerational, Multicultural Perspective
As the new National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, I am pleased to write my first post for our blog here on World AIDS Day. Observed annually on December 1, World AIDS Day is recognized around the world with this year’s theme: Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation. This theme directly invokes the idea of age and makes us “focus” in on how different generations experience the epidemic, and is particularly appropriate for us to think about here.
As an openly gay man, I grew up and entered my teen years during the height of the epidemic in the 1980s. At the same time, I grew up a child of immigrants in a Filipino American household with two.... Read More
On April 3, 2008, my longtime friend Don (last name withheld) tested positive for HIV, the same day as his mother’s 56th birthday. He remembers the day vividly. “I had given blood to my doctor and a couple weeks later, I still hadn’t received a call. I called my doctor’s office and they said, ‘There’s an anomaly with your blood.’ I immediately freaked out and thought, ‘God, this is it.'” Don took the last appointment of the day and a few hours later received his diagnosis, along with a few referrals. He went home “to pull myself together, call my mom and wish her a happy birthday.” He wouldn’t share his HIV status with his mother for several years.
The AID Institute’s 7th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD) will be observed September 18, 2014 with the theme “Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn’t have to be!” For more information about HIV/AIDS and older Americans or to become involved with the campaign, visit www.NHAAAD.org.
Among diverse communities, the stigma of HIV is a cause of shame, embarrassment, and worse of all, denial and silence. When denial and silence are present, the lack of communication and information lead to myths and misinformation. Worst of all, silence results in increased infections and is inevitably compounded by stigma, which leads to people living with HIV who are undiagnosed and therefore, untreated.