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Every year people join together to celebrate and honor the Long-Term Survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This year we mark two 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 theme for 2016 is “Moving Forward Together”.
Today over half of all people living with HIV in the US are over 50. By 2020 that will increase to 70 percent. The new face of HIV is aging. However, HIV and Aging is not a monolith. A case can be made that Pre-HAART survivors and Post-HAART survivors are separate cohorts with overlapping but different medical and psycho-social needs. Longest term survivors, those who acquired HIV before 1996, face different medical issues and decades of planning to is having an impact on our lives now.
June 5 was chosen to commemorate the day the CDC first announced the mysterious illness that was killing young gay men. It was the beginning of HIV/AIDS awareness before it was known as HIV/AIDS.