“Not Our First Pandemic” is the theme for HLTSAD 2020

5 June is HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day

Tez Anderson
May 9, 2018 · 8 min read

“Not Our First Pandemic” is the 2020 theme and call to action for survivors to share wisdom from the AIDS pandemic to the world in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 was supposed to the year for clarity. There is more uncertainty. 40 years ago when another pandemic began with far less fanfare. It was not as contagious and it did not stop the world nor destroy the economy. In fact, it was barely a blip unless you were part of a marginalized minority—gay men.

On June 5, 1981 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a


We had a different theme for HLTSAD 2020, then along comes a novel coronavirus, COVID-19 that turned the world upside and shelter-in-place became prevention.

Twitter @HIVSurvivors

HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day is 5 June

2020 Theme and Call to Action

Share Your Wisdom from Surviving the AIDS pandemic. Lessons from the AIDS pandemic to the world in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we talk about long-term survivors,” says Mark Brennan-Ing, “there is a degree of resilience and hardiness that has let people become long-term survivors. That is something to capitalize on.”

#NotOurFirstPandemic #HLTSAD

HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (HLTSAD 2020) is Friday, 5 June 2020.

The 2020 theme and call to action is Not Out First Pandemic because while COVID-19 is new, it is triggering old wounds among some AIDS survivors.

Let’s Kick ASS the originator and lead sponsor of HIV Long-Term Survivors, were ahead of the curve. The theme for HLTSAD 2017 was “HIV Resilient” it was also the basis of proposed intervention (2015) we could not get funded.

Currently, 26% of all 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. became positive before 1996, meaning 300,000 individuals are the longest-term survivors. Many others have been living with HIV for over 15 years.

Too many HLTS are isolated, depressed, living in poverty and coping with AIDS Survivors Syndrome (ASS) which includes depression, anxiety, and a host of other social and mental factors impacting treatment adherence, quality of life, and well-being. Instead of being celebrated as the pioneers, they are, they are frightened about the prospects aging with HIV, a virus that killed swaths of our loved ones and community.

Why June 5?

June 5, 1981, holds a special place in the history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on the first cases of rare pneumonia affecting young gay men living in New York and California. It would later be identified as HIV/AIDS.

Today we know that HIV doesn’t discriminate and impacts people of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds. After experiencing decades of death and multiple causalities, many long-term survivors are socially isolated and lacking services that are culturally aware of the early decades of AIDS.

Long-Term Survivors are also more susceptible to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, liver, and kidney failure, and visceral adipose tissue (lipodystrophy) and GI issues including diarrhea (HIV enteropathy).


HLTSAD is also about prevention. HLTS needs to know that people who maintain an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others. The science is clear: Undetectable=Untransmittable. When you’re undetectable, you both protect your health and prevent new HIV infections.

  • HIV and aging are complex and nuanced. HLTS are aging but constitute a distinct cohort of different medical and psychological challenges including AIDS Survivor Syndrome, poverty, isolation, and invisibility.
  • In our haste to End AIDS prioritize the 2018 modern-day needs of HIV LTS.
  • Survivors are a valuable part of our communities we need to empower them to become the elders, leaders, and teachers.
  • Celebrating HLTS for enduring a historically unique epidemic and being the pioneers of the AIDS pandemic.
  • Prioritize HLTS culturally-aware healthcare and mental health.
  • Move beyond survival, the goal is aging well with HIV.
  • Honoring the resilience and strength, it took survive multiple causalities and unprocessed grief while planning to die.

HASHTAGS: #ItIsStillNotOver #HIV #LongTermSurvivors #HLTAD2018

About HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day

Started in 2014 by Let’s Kick ASS — AIDS Survivor Syndrome, founder Tez Anderson, it is an official awareness day on HIV.gov HIV.gov https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-long-term-survivors-day

Visit HLTSAD.org

Also on HIV.gov https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-long-term-survivors-day

Our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HIVLongTermSurvivorsAwarenessDay

Twitter: @HIVSurvivors

Download a PDF of this press release here: PRESS RELEASE HLTSAD2018


About Let’s Kick ASS

Let’s Kick ASS — AIDS Survivor Syndrome is the lead sponsor of HLTSAD. We’re a grassroots movement empowering HIV Long-Term Survivors (HLTS) to thrive.

On the ground and online. we are the largest organization devoted to addressing the needs, issues, and lives of women and men living longest with HIV. Founded in 2013 to meet an unmet need. We have chapters in Oregon and Palm Springs too.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIDSSurvivorSyndrome/

Twitter @LetsKickASS_hiv

2019 HLTSAD Events We Know About.

The Kick ASS Manual

Please check this out.

Eric Jannke of our Palm Springs Chapter has put together The Kick ASS Manual was originally conceived as something useful to front-line providers. The project has shifted in composition, away from journal-type articles and towards personal stories, always with the goal of informing, increasing the body of knowledge around HIV, and thereby improving quality of life for people living with HIV. Most of the pieces are short. We want them to be approachable and useful to a diverse audience, ranging from professionals and caregivers dealing with people who might have HIV, to people living with HIV, to people who don’t have HIV but want to learn more. The Manual can answer questions directly and suggest sources for further information. It puts a face to aging with HIV, raises awareness around some of the issues that can trouble our lives, and provides ideas about how to improve them.

Download a PDF here: http://bit.ly/LetsKickASSManual

Articles of interest:


HIV Long-Term Survivors Awarness Day

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