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

             

Facing Mortality Head-On

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

For a handful of months now, I’ve been contemplating a decision that I know many long-term HIV survivors have contemplated before me.

Letting go.

That is, I have considered going off my medications—all of them—and letting Nature and the virus just take their course. As a long-time advocate of a patient’s right to choose when and how to end his own life when facing a terminal disease, the decision to cease medication seems to me a perfectly rational, honorable decision available to me.

I keep it open as an.... Read More

             

LGBT Seniors Grapple With End-of-Life Issues

by Matthew S. Bajko. This article originally appeared in the Bay Area Reporter.

While enjoying her 72nd year on the planet, Donna Personna knows her remaining days are numbered. Yet the prospect of her demise doesn’t scare her.

“The end question. ‘The end.’ It’s not a touchy subject for me. I’m irreverent,” said Personna, a transgender woman who grew up in San Jose and now lives in San Francisco. “I learned long ago this was going to come.”

Personna, a beloved drag performer, playwright, and hairdresser, credits her Mexican heritage with teaching her that death is a part of life. She pointed to the annual Dia de los Muertos holiday — the Day of the Dead in.... Read More

             

SAGEPositive: How SAGE cares for long-term survivors of HIV

By Aspen Christian. This article was originally published on the SAGE Blog.

Did you know that by the year 2020, 70 percent of the people living with HIV in the United States will be over the age of 50? How about that older adults (age 50 and up) account for 17 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States?

The 30th annual World AIDS Day was this past Saturday, December 1st, and this year’s theme is “Know your status.” Knowing your status gives you powerful information to keep you and your potential partners healthy. SAGE can refer you to places across New York State where you can.... Read More

             
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