Aging with HIV: A Gay Man’s Guide offers a ten-step guide to optimal aging. The tenth step is Play. “The ability to play is probably one of the most influential factors in development across the lifespan.” Through play we developed new skills, established friendships, learned to handle defeats and victories, and shaped our growing minds. We can still grow through play as we age: increase our social networks, express creativity, challenge ourselves mentally and physically, and continue to learn new skills.
Well, I decided to take my own advice. I wrote a play. About life, and love and being a survivor. It’s called Survivors and it’s having a staged reading on Monday October 16th at 7pm at the Bernie Wohl Center in Manhattan. This has been a learning process for me and the reading is an opportunity to learn more by presenting the work in front of an audience. If you’d like to join in the fun go to the eventbrite page.
Changes to the site are underway. In the coming weeks this space will launch the AHA Project, a program to empower people who are aging with HIV. I apologize for any inconvenience as I develop the site.
When a woman with HIV realizes that she’s lived longer than she ever expected and begins to rebuild her life, that’s an aha moment.
When a doctor and patient sort through the complexities of HIV, the medications used to treat the virus, and the realities of aging to identify an effective treatment, that’s an aha moment.
When a group of gay men acknowledge how the AIDS epidemic has impacted every aspect of their lives and start the healing process together, that’s an aha moment.
When a politician recognizes that AIDS is not over and funds programing to meet the challenges of HIV and aging, that’s an aha moment.
In the past two years since the release of Aging with HIV I’ve met many amazing men and women who are living with HIV longer than they ever expected. Throughout the country we’ve created conversations that have expanded our understanding of aging with HIV. Together we’ve exchanged information, shared experiences, processed feelings and built communities. It’s been a real learning experience filled with aha moments.
That’s why I’ve decided to start the AHA Project (Action for HIV and Aging) to facilitate discussions that empower people to define for themselves what it means to optimally age with HIV.
In the coming weeks agingwithhiv.wordpress.com will become ahaproject.org. I appreciate your patience as I develop the site to reflect its developing mission.
Aging with HIV is beginning to get the attention it deserves. The issues affecting midlife and older people living with HIV have been in the media, discussed by government and non-for-profit HIV and Aging organizations, and researched in the fields of science and medicine. And, that attention is critical because it is estimated that by the year 2015 over half the people living with HIV will be aged fifty or older.
There needs to be more discussion about this issue at all levels, including: Expanding research initiatives on how HIV affects older bodies; Building policy and education programs that target midlife and older adults; Creating training modules for service providers; Establishing dialogues about the emotional, physical, social and financial consequences of living with HIV into older adulthood; And, providing support and community to people aging with HIV.
It has been personally enriching to be a part of this process through my work on Aging with HIV: A Gay Man’s Guide. I’ve met some fantastic people who are committed to these issues. And, I hope to continue to be a part of the discourse, as an educator and psychotherapist, providing training and supervision on the subject. It has been a learning process for me, and I have grown as a clinician and teacher from the workshops I have given and attended across the country.
Since the publication of the book my clinical practice has expanded. I find that balancing my work as a psychotherapist and as an educator fills my professional time. So, I am going to take a break from maintaining the Aging with HIV blog.
The site will remain operational. You can still use it to find resources and to contact me. Review some of the earlier blog entries to find links to articles and organizations that may be of interest. You can use the links on the right hand column to find blog entries or read my January 23rd post, Annual Review, which offers an overview of what I’ve written in the blog this year.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. I look forward to seeing what new developments are on the horizon.
It has been an exciting year since the publication of Aging with HIV: A gay man’s guide. I have met a lot of great people around the country and overseas who are keeping conversations going about the challenges of aging and how people living with HIV can define optimal aging for themselves.
There have been many developments in the field: SAGE developed a policy paper on Aging with HIV; There was an historic White House meeting on HIV and aging; Interesting findings were discussed at the Baltimore Conference on HIV and Aging, the SAGE constituent conference and the 2nd Annual Conference on HIV and Aging in Austin; The HIV and Aging Group built community on Facebook; The National LGBT Aging Resource Center was created; Clinical Guidelines for Medical Management of HIV and Aging were released; and Caring and Aging with Pride published its report on LGBT Aging in the United States.
Aging with HIV was discussed in print and on the web: I talked with Mark S. King on MyFabulousDisease.com; The Philadelphia Gay News; The New York Times; Edge Magazine; And, the book was reviewed in The Bay Area Reporter, Lambda Literary Review, and The Gerontologist. And, I’m looking forward to the publication of an interview with Neal Broverman in next month’s Advocate.
It’s been quite a year!
I am looking forward to keeping you posted on new developments in the field. Aging with HIV is an expanding field. I am hoping that readers continue to share insights, information, and personal stories with me, so that I can pass them on to the community and keep the conversation going in 2012.
I’m taking a break from blogging for the month of August. There’s still plenty to read on the site, though. Use the tabs on the banner or on the right column to read previous postings, get more information about the book, and find resources in your area.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
I have spent some time cleaning up the blog and have reorganized the archive. There are new categories listed on the sidebar to the right. This should help you find the postings that interest you.
I just received notification that WordPress is making changes to the website. So, I’m going to take a little time to learn the new system, and clean things up a bit on my blog. You can still access previous posts in the archive and use the tabs above to get referrals and learn more about Aging with HIV: A Gay Man’s Guide.
If you were keeping a blog about Aging with HIV, what subjects would you write about?
I’m sure you have some thoughts on the subject. Add them on the community page. Lets get the conversation started.
The blog is almost complete. Don’t know why the last post is dated March, 2009, but I’m learning as I go. Check out the pages, listed above. Start the discussion, or just say “hello” on the community page. And, suggest any referrals that you think would be helpful.
In the meantime, read GMHC’s report on aging and HIV released on July 19, 2010.