Long-term survivors were diagnosed with HIV before the advent of effective antiretroviral treatment in 1996. This diverse group of individuals includes people born with the virus as well as those who contracted it as adults. Among the latter are many men and women over 50 (a group that makes up 55 percent of today’s HIV population), who must confront the dual challenges of aging and living with HIV.
Observed annually on June 5, HIV Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day (HLTSAD) is organized by Let’s Kick ASS!—AIDS Survivor Syndrome. It’s a day to be counted as still here, to acknowledge the collective physical and emotional trauma caused by the millions now gone and to rededicate ourselves to fighting the epidemic and the related stigma and political neglect.