Looking Ahead to HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (Video)
May 21, 2014
June 5 marks the anniversary of the start of the AIDS epidemic, when the first medical reports on the new disease were published.
This year, it also marks National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, the nation-wide day of observance proposed by Let's Kick ASS, a San Francisco grassroots group that is making strides to understand and conquer the depression, anxiety, and social isolation of that make up "AIDS survivor syndrome" (ASS for short).
"This day commemorates the profound experiences and unique issues of long-term survivors, both HIV-positive and negative, who are still alive despite the devastating toll from surviving the most significant epidemic of our time," states the website for this proposed observance day.
Reconnecting isolated HIV/AIDS survivors, getting a seat at the research and advocacy tables, and honoring the past while reimagining the future are all on the Let's Kick ASS agenda. As co-founder Tez Anderson explains, "we're dedicated to reclaiming our lives, ending isolation, and envisioning a future we never dreamed of."
In the moving video below announcing National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, produced by Let's Kick ASS and the HIV Story Project, several of the group's members define AIDS survivor syndrome and share how it manifested in their lives. "In 1996, protease inhibitors came along and changed the game," notes Anderson in the video. Once the worst of AIDS was over, he says, "people were moving on with their lives -- though that 'moving on' was difficult for a lot of us." For Anderson, suddenly realizing that he was not going to die showed him that he didn't really know how to live. "It sent me into a tailspin." (Read Tez Anderson's personal story of kicking ASS.)
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