I wanted to acquaint you with a new resource for gay and lesbian aging that I am personally very excited about. According to their website: “The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Established in 2010 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides training, technical assistance and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults.
It is truly remarkable that the US government is funding a program geared to improving the services and supports of the LGBT aging community. I have worked in this field for decades am encouraged by this sign of support for what has historically been an underserved community.
I have been told by the organization leadership that they intend to develop programs for the HIV positive aging community, and I will be submitting an article to appear on their website. Currently they have articles and resources of interest to the LGBT aging community on their website.
Just want to remind people that there is a facebook group dedicated to the issues of HIV and Aging, and its called HAG. If you are on facebook, check it out.
I just was informed of a website and blog about aing with HIV called the Graying of AIDS. This education project has photographs and stories of people living with HIV and the web page offers a comprehensive resource list. I am adding it to my resources page.
I am pleased to tell you about a group that I will be running with a colleague in the Village.
The focus of the group is gay men and midlife. For the generation of gay men now facing mid-life the AIDS epidemic shaped young adulthood. Gay identity was defined by the emergence of AIDS and young gay men were faced with the tasks of caring for loved ones, grieving, creating community and learning how to care for oneself in the face of homophobia and discrimination.
For this generation of gay men, the fact of being in mid-life is to have survived. It may helpful to reassess their coping strategies in order to meaningfully respond to changes in careers, relationships, bodies and sex lives that accompany aging. This group will allow its members to reflect, reassess and address questions such as:
What does it mean to be a middle-aged gay man now?
What wisdom have we achieved and what coping strategies have we developed in order to arrive at this place?
How has my earlier experience with AIDS and HIV affected my view of myself and aging?
What new strategies and skills do we need?
This 12 week group should prove to be a rich and rewarding opportunity to connect, receive support, learn from shared experiences, draw on past lessons and achieve new understanding.
If you are interested, or know of someone for whom such a group would be helpful, you can contact me at this link, or by using the “Dr. James” tab, above:
I recently read a post by Mark S. King for his blog “My Fabulous Disease” that I thought would be especially relevant for people aging with HIV.
In it he gives an overview of the ADAP crisis that is going on across the US. He explains that there is growing concern that ADAP programs that provide access to HIV medications will be cut. He has video coverage of the “emergency summit” to discuss the growing ADAP crisis. And, he presents what we can do to make sure that people living with HIV can continue to receive their medications.
This issue is relevant to all people living with HIV and he offers clear guidance on how to get involved.
To read the post on how you can get involved, go to: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/aids-activism-101-steps-to-end-the-adap-crisis/
Activism and Aging with HIV
For many of you activism is not a new subject. AIDS activism may have been a part of your day-to-day life in the eighties and nineties. You may have even been a part of the gay rights movement of the seventies or earlier.
Is activism a part of your life today?
The men I interviewed for Aging with HIV: A Gay Man’s Guide answered this question in different ways. Some continued to participate in political and social groups and called themselves “activists.” Others were no longer as “out there” as they were ten and twenty years ago. They wrote letters, signed petitions on line, and supported organizations that shared their concerns. Some continued to read updates and were concerned, but no longer participated in causes.
Several felt alienated from activist organizations that, they felt were oriented toward younger people. Some had become fatigued from years of activism, and hopeless that they had any voice in creating change on a larger scale.
Why Get Involved?
Activism can offer many benefits to people in midlife and beyond. When you participate in social cause, you have the possibility to effect change on a larger scale. Activism also offers an opportunity for you to get out of yourself and to think about others. This is what developmental psychologist call generativity, and it is an significant aspect of continued personal growth at midlife. Getting involved also offers you opportunities to meet new people, stimulate your mind and broaden your social network.
There are many causes that you can get involved in. And, activism is only one level of involvement. Some of us work better on a smaller scale. Volunteering at a social service organization is a great way to get involved, feel like you are making a difference, and being part of something beyond yourself. Check out the resources page (see tabs above) to find an agency near your.
I just received this notice from hivaging.blogspot.com:
Aging and HIV Conference Scheduled The 2nd International Workshop on HIV and Aging has been scheduled for October, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Abstracts are due September of 2011. For more information, go to: http://www.conferencealerts.com/seeconf.mv?q=ca1im80x
Thank you Dr. Emlet for keeping us posted.
Doctors at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), appreciate the unique challenges faced by their patients as they age with HIV. That is why the University has received funding to develop and evaluate programs that integrate HIV and geriatric services for HIV/AIDS patients who are 50 and older. Researchers at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and UCSF received a three-year grant to study new models of care and offer best-practice guidelines for treating HIV and aging throughout California.
To find out more about this timely study go to the UCSF website.
Here’s what they say about HAG on their Facebook page: “Affectionately called HAG, the HIV Aging Group discusses all issues related to the senior HIV patient experience.”
If you are a facebook user you can join their discussion. Just go to your fb page, search for HAG and then put in a request to join.
A reader, Loren M., recently completed a course on public policy in Aging with HIV at San Francisco State University, Gerontology program. He has researched the issues around Aging with HIV, and has shared the result of his studies. For a report on Aging with HIV Policy go to my post – Aging with HIV Goes to the White House and read his comment.
Thanks Loren M. for sending that information to us!
I just received an update from Dr. Steve Karpiak from ACRIA about the White House meeting on aging with HIV held last week. Dr. Karpiak was among the 100+ invited attendees at this meeting to “raise awareness about people who are aging with HIV or contracting HIV as seniors (>50 years of age); to explore unique clinical manifestations of HIV infection among older adults; to discuss existing services for seniors living with HIV and highlight successes as well as gaps; and to discuss targeted strategies for Federal and non-Federal stakeholders to realize the vision of the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy” according to the White House Office of AIDS policy. There is a link on this page to a youtube video of the meeting.
Here are some observations Dr. Karpiak made of the event:
Education – The need for those in the world of HIV/AIDS and those who work in the Aging universe to know about the increasing number of older adults living with HIV. The epidemic is no longer young only! In fact it is now old – mostly!
Research – This is a given. Research dollars are always scarce, but the need to address this issue is now growing at a rapid pace. Many spoke about ACRIA’s seminal 1000 person study ROAH (Research on Older Adults with HIV) illustrating that community based research can significantly affect the dialogue.
Health Outcomes – There is a need to assess bottom lines – health outcomes. What works – what does not work – and move forward using evidence based information and not conjecture and anecdotes, or, providing services that makes everyone feel good – except the client.
Prevention – There is a vacuum. No systematic evidence based prevention effort targeting older adults (HIV negative or positive) has ever been developed for the over 50 populations – emphasis on the S. Prevention messages for the 50-60 year old are likely very different than those for the 70+ group! ACRIA has much to share with 3+ years experience n developing such initiatives in NYC (funded by the New York City Council) and across the US (funded by the MAC AIDS Fund).
Isolation – Acknowledgement by almost every person who spoke in the room that the older adult living with HIV is socially isolated due to the toxic forces of stigma which contribute to their high rates of depression, substance use and poor mental health management.
Power – The power of the voice of the peer PLWHA over 50 is unquestioned. There were community members, ASO staff, people of faith communities, and government staff who were HIV+ and over 50, some LGBT – their bearing witness is potent.
Partnerships – The HIV world must collaborate with the Aging world. Those in HIV/AIDS cannot ignore the massive knowledge and experience of those who work in Aging. Time and resources will have been wasted unless there is collaboration from both domains. ACRIA is unique in that it has done this for the last 8 years.
Thank you Dr. Karpiak for sharing your thoughts. I will continue to pass on more information about the event and of any policy changes that emerge as a result.