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"Aging Is a Part of Life; HIV Doesn't Have to Be!"

September 14, 2010

National HIVAIDS and Aging Awareness Day
Did you know September 18, 2010 is the third annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD)? The AIDS Institute provides national leadership for this observance day.

Michael Ruppal, Executive Director at The AIDS Institute, and Michelle Scavnicky, Director of Education, told us about their work related to NHAAAD: "The Institute and its NHAAAD partners nationwide are working to continue raising awareness on the challenging issues facing the aging population with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment," Michael said. "This year’s NHAAD theme, 'Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn't have to be,' demonstrates the increased need for prevention, research, and data targeting the aging population, medical understanding of aging, and its impact on HIV/AIDS."

The campaign focuses on:

  1. People living with HIV/AIDS who are aging with the disease or already over 50 at the time of their diagnosis;
  2. Increasing the use of protection from HIV infection, especially among the baby boomer population; and
  3. The increasing number of grandparents becoming the primary guardians for children who have lost their parent(s) to HIV/AIDS.

The AIDS Institute will offer a webinar about HIV/AIDS and aging on September 17, 2010 (register here).The Institute is also tweeting with the official hashtag #NHAAAD10 and is promoting the day on Facebook. Speaking of using new media, the Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report on the growing use of social media among older adults.


Michelle also described some traditional resources for NHAAAD promotion: "We developed a community planning guide (PDF, 549 KB) to help organizations and community members to develop, implement and participate in awareness activities and events on or around September 18. Other tools include the NHAAAD brochure (PDF, 231 KB), fact sheet (PDF, 144 KB), five states-at-a-glance document (PDF, 299 KB) and a poster (PDF, 148 KB) for local communities to customize for their events." Check out The AIDS Institute's newly redesigned website for these and other resources. If you're planning a NHAAAD event, be sure to register your event, too.

This conversation reminded our team of an important and informative poster session that The New York State Department of Health presented at the International AIDS Conference in July 2010. In this video, Humberto Cruz and Johanne Morne talk about aging and HIV in their state and the response to these concerns.

With these resources, Michael, Michelle, Humberto, Johanne -- and many other individuals and organizations across the country -- are calling attention to the fact that "Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn't have to be!"

What will you do on September 18? For ideas on how to get involved on or around National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, visit To learn about HIV and AIDS, visit To find an HIV testing site near you, text your ZIP to "KNOWIT" (566948) or visit

Michelle Scavnicky is director of education at The AIDS Institute and Deb LeBel is partnerships specialist.

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