‘We Weren’t Expected to Live This Long’

by Grace Birnstengel. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

(Editor’s note: This story is part of Still Here, Still Positive: A series on the first generation of Americans aging with HIV/AIDS, with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation.)

More than 500,000 people over 50 in the U.S. are growing older with the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) that, if untreated, cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

While some have contracted HIV/AIDS in their later years (sparse sexual health promotion for older adults is often to blame), the bulk of these survivors were diagnosed decades ago, back in the throes of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, when.... Read More

             

The Voices of the Silenced

by SAGE Communications. This article originally appeared on the SAGE blog.

When asked to think of the predominant challenges facing people as they age today, the common answers may be physical mobility and accessibility, savings and wealth management, or finding safe, affordable housing. These challenges are increased for LGBT older people, who may face maltreatment due to their sexual orientation or live in fear of discrimination. However, due to incredible advancements in medicine and science, many of the Stonewall generation are now experiencing a far less talked about challenge: aging with HIV.

In the late 90’s at the height of the AIDS epidemic, it was inconceivable to imagine that individuals who were diagnosed would live to.... Read More

             

7 HIV/AIDS Myths We Need to Stop Believing

by Kellee Terrell. This article appears on the Diverse Elders Coalition blog courtesy of Black Health Matters.

I try to live my life by the saying “knowledge is power.”

Knowledge helps us make informed decisions from everything, including who we vote for, what we eat and how we react to our surroundings. This mantra also holds true to our understanding (or lack thereof) of HIV/AIDS. Despite how easily accessible basic information about the epidemic is, there’s still plenty of dangerous misinformation percolating out in the world and our communities.

And I’ve seen it with my.... Read More

             

Honoring older adults living with HIV on National HIV and Aging Awareness Day

Every year on September 18th, National HIV and Aging Awareness Day reminds us of the growing number of long-term survivors of the HIV/AIDS crisis and the increasing numbers of older adults living with HIV. We are honored to share stories from older adults like Vince Crisostomo, Hank Trout, and Helena Buschong, who are living with HIV and documenting their journeys along the way.

The year 2020 has long been noted as a pivotal time for the demographics of people aging with HIV:.... Read More

             

SAGE launches campaign to highlight unique challenges of LGBT aging

SAGE recently announced a public education campaign that uses striking images of fierce and fabulous LGBT older people to illustrate both the vitality and unique needs of this population.

Dubbed “(in)visible?” the campaign launched with billboard ads in Times Square, online, and on social media. It shows vibrant images of LGBT elders, illustrating their resilience while shining a light on the disparities they face. Despite pervasive discrimination throughout their lifetimes, the LGBT elders pictured in the campaign refuse to be invisible.

The photos are a collaboration with the popular brand Advanced Style. Featuring.... Read More

             

Dual Stigma: HIV Positive and Over 50

by Grace Birnstengel. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

HIV/AIDS used to be considered a disease of the young. In the early 1980s, when doctors first reported cases of HIV, nearly 70% of diagnoses were among people under 40.

Fast forward four decades later and more than 50% of Americans with HIV are now over 50. And by 2020 that number is expected to reach 65% to 70%. This is largely due to major medical improvements in the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in suppressing the virus and transforming HIV from an often fatal.... Read More

             

Voices From the Stonewall Era

By Grace Birnstengel. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Multiple conflicting accounts exist of what happened June 28, 1969 at 53 Christopher St. in Greenwich Village. And really, the Stonewall Inn rebellion in New York City that day is just one piece of what really sparked the modern LGBTQ movement across the nation. Here are stories of three men who — at Stonewall that night or elsewhere — have deep connections to an era of painful protest, discrimination and liberation:

“Jeremiah, They’re Raiding the Stonewall”

Unlike “everyone in the world,” Greenwich Village-dweller Jeremiah Newton didn’t attend Judy Garland’s funeral on June 28, 1969. He didn’t really know her; he only saw her in passing at.... Read More

             

Doctor, Doctor: Changing Caregivers is Like Getting a Divorce

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

What do you mean, you’re retiring at the end of the year?! You can’t do that! We’ve been together for twenty years! You can’t just walk out on me like that!

When you’re a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor and have been relying on the same healthcare provider for quite some time, changing doctors can be problematic, both physically and emotionally. It’s like losing a boxing coach.

I have been with the same large HMO here in San Francisco since 1992. Doctor “C” has been my primary caregiver for most of that time. I.... Read More

             

The Importance of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, making it difficult to fight off diseases, infections and certain cancers. HIV specifically attacks the body’s CD4+ cells, a type of T-cell that has a critical role in our adaptive immune system. When an unknown virus, bacteria, or pathogen enters the human body, CD4+ cells are required to stimulate the immune system in making the machinery to fight off the unknown intruder. Without CD4+ cells, it becomes difficult for the human body to regulate immune responses, increasing the risk of death from diseases and infections as common as the cold. When HIV destroys CD4+ cells, impairing the functionality of the immune system, this leads to the acquired.... Read More

             
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