A new report from The Reunion Project on HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (#HLTSAD) calls for a national coalition of survivors of HIV to advance the needs of survivors in four key areas: research, programs, community building, and advocacy.
The Reunion Project, a grassroots initiative started in 2015, honors the history and future of survivors of HIV. With the advent of effective combination antiretroviral therapy, more people living with HIV are surviving and thriving than ever before. In fact the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. today are over 50 years old, and in two years it is estimated that 70% will be over age 50.
For the first time, The Reunion Project held the National Roundtable Forum, a community-led, diverse coalition of advocates who are survivors of HIV from across the U.S. in March 30-31, 2018 at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences in Rancho Mirage, California. Over the course of one-and-a-half days more than 50 advocates convened to develop a national HIV survivorship advocacy agenda.
The main objective of the Roundtable Forum was to come to a consensus regarding a coalition of survivorship, and to begin a process to build a sustainable and powerful movement.
The report states that, "The needs and priorities of survivors of HIV are many and varied, but there is strength in diversity and in coming together to share our stories. Woven through these heroic stories of survival is a common thread of pain, trauma, healing, and overcoming challenges and obstacles while working toward a common goal. A strong coalition of survivors with a single voice and clear message is desperately needed to advance the needs of survivors, as we continue to battle the long-term effects of medications, isolation, post-traumatic stress disorder, stigma, aging, and co-morbidities, to name a few."
The Reunion Project National Steering Committee includes Chris Bartlett, Philadelphia; Jeff Berry, Chicago; Gregg Cassin, San Francisco; Waheedah Shabazz- El, Philadelphia; Matt Sharp, Berkeley, CA; Louis Spraggins, Chicago; and Jeff Taylor, Palm Springs, CA.
The Reunion Project National Roundtable was made possible by support from Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Walgreens, TPAN, and Eisenhower Health, and was hosted by HIV + Aging Research Project-PS (HARP-PS). For more information and to download the report, go to www.tpan.com/reunion-project.
[Note from TheBody: This press release was originally published by The Reunion Project on June 5, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]