Sunday, June 5, marks HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day 2016 (HLTSAD). This year’s theme is “Moving Forward Together.”
Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), a nonprofit group focused on healthy older adults living with HIV, founded and leads the awareness day formerly known as the National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day.
In addition to “raising awareness about the needs, issues and journeys of HIV Long-Term Survivors (HLTS)” the awareness day will “mark two significant milestones—it has been 35 years since HIV was identified on June 5, 1981. It is 20 years since highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was introduced.”
The awareness day, according to the HLTSAD website, “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. Achieving that goal requires older adults with HIV to be equipped for healthy aging. Long-term survival, once an almost unimaginable concept is now the norm.”
Today, more than half of people living with HIV in the United States are 50 or older, and that number will increase to 70 percent by 2020.