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Eric Novak was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 and AIDS in 1998. He is a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor who has never given up and looks forward to a bright future with his partner (who is also HIV-positive).
Presentation: Panel discussion & Q&A on HIV/AIDS long-term survivorship: Raising awareness to the special needs and challenges of long-term survivors and those aging with a long-term diagnosis
Time: Breakout Session 4
Long-term survivors: those infected prior to the introduction of HAART (1995) are a unique and growing subset of the HIV population. This population faces challenges that have not been seen in the HIV community. Prior to HAART, HIV was a death sentence and managing it was relegated to caring for the dying. After viable treatments were introduced, living with HIV became a manageable disease. Those infected who thought they didn’t have a future now can live a relatively “normal” life span. However because of long-term exposure to HIV and the toll it placed on these people, aging with HIV has not provided a “normal” life. Medical clinical, social and community advocacy for this population needs to be examined to address the issues and formulate solutions.
1. To inform and create a conversation based on the history of those impacted and infected with HIV before 1995.
2. Protease inhibitors came out in 1995–objective is to start an understanding of the social, political and personal injustices faced by those impacted with HIV before 1995 correlating with those over 50 whom are also affected by the disease.
3. Present the early struggles impacted with the research and the real issues, social and medical, that came out of research.
4. Discuss and create stronger foundation of research in the current environment. To understand where we are in the research and current ideas in the actual wording of the cure. How this will impact those that have been living with HIV before 1995.
5. To fully grasp the issues of stigma by presenting personal stories of the early social ramifications, fear and hate that was created before 1995, and how we can make stronger strides in decreasing the current stigma surrounding HIV disease in the elderly/aging population.
6. Explore the issues of long-term survivors that are aging well with HIV/AIDS and the fear and issues that are prevalent.
7. Create a conversation of how we can create a supportive system of care and support for long-term thrivers living with HIV/AIDS, while engaging the elderly population that are also infected with HIV.