On December 1st, individuals and organizations around the world commemorate World AIDS Day, an acknowledgement of how far we’ve come in fighting this disease and how much work is still to be done to erase stigma, find a cure, and support survivors. The Diverse Elders Coalition has worked since our inauguration in 2010 to lift up the stories of diverse elders with HIV and to raise awareness about the ways in which our communities are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.
This year was an important one for the prevention of HIV: in July, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 (PDF) that calls for a more coordinated national response to HIV/AIDS. A Federal Action Plan for implementing the strategy was also released today, highlighting actions that will foster collaboration among agencies and make a big difference in helping to reach the goals of the Strategy.
Here at the Diverse Elders Coalition, we’ve worked to lift up the stories of our elders of color, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, and LGBT elders with HIV. On our blog and in our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative, you can read stories of living with HIV from people like Herbie Taylor, Vince Criostomo, and Helena Bushong. These inspiring individuals show us strength, resilience, and inspiration despite a diagnosis that still carries with it stigma and struggle. We hope you will read their stories and the stories of other diverse elders who fight HIV every day.
Additionally, in September, we released our new infographic: Facts and Factors: HIV and Diverse Elders. This resource – along with those on our HIV and Aging website – highlight some of the ways in which our communities are impacted by HIV, and what we can do to support those individuals and communities. By 2020, 70% of people in the US living with HIV will be 50 or older. We hope you will join the Diverse Elders Coalition on World AIDS Day – and every day – in supporting, honoring, and caring for our elders with HIV.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.