Friday, June 5, marks the second annual National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day 2015 (NHALTSAD).
“This year’s theme,” according to the website, “is ‘Every Survivor Counts’ because many long-term survivors feel forgotten and invisible. Most survivors are isolated and are coping with psychosocial effects long-term survival including depression, hopelessness, and AIDS survivor syndrome (ASS). Now they are also dealing with poverty, ageism and a lack of meaning and purpose because they had the audacity to survive. #EverySurvivorCounts is a reminder to survivors that matter. It is also about raising awareness that tens of thousands are surviving AIDS."
In honor of the NHALTSAD, the HIV Story Project will launch the Generations HIV Online Video Archive, a collection of testimonials from long-term survivors.
Tez Anderson is the lead organizer of NHALTSAD and the related support group Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome). Writing in POZ opinion piece last year titled “A Day to Call Our Own,” Anderson stated:
“[NHALTSAD] is a day to celebrate our survival and begin envisioning the future we never imagined. The first decades of our adulthood were overwhelmingly consumed with illness, death and fear. Now it is up to us to ensure that the next decades are the best they can be. The least we can do is afford survivors the respect they have earned and acknowledge them as elders, teachers and leaders.”
It was on June 5, 1981, that the disease now known as AIDS first appeared in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.