HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (HLTSAD) is celebrated each year on June 5th, the anniversary of the first official reporting of what became known as HIV in 1981. HLTSAD celebrates the resiliency of long-term survivors living with HIV and highlights their journeys and challenges.
This year’s theme is Mobilize to Thrive, Improving Quality of Life, and the observance day is led by LKA. To follow and join the conversation, use #HLTSAD and #Mobilize2Thrive. The HIV.gov national health observance planning guide provides more tips on getting involved.
Nearly half of people living with HIV in the United States are aged 50 and older. Thanks to advances in antiretroviral therapy or ART, people who are diagnosed early and start and remain on ART can live long, healthy lives.
Even when HIV is well-controlled, people may develop aging-related conditions at a younger age. People living with HIV are significantly more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without HIV. Older people living with HIV also have an increased risk of dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, and some cancers, and they may be more likely to fall. It is common for older adults with HIV to experience mental illness, especially depression and addiction, and they tend to be more isolated, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Getting linked to care and having access to mental health and other support services is important to help older people with HIV stay healthy and remain engaged in care. Support services are available through health care providers, local community centers, or HIV service organizations. The HIV Services Locator also can help individuals find services in their community.