SAGE’s work continues to honor long-term survivors and older people living with HIV
[New York, NY] SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, is commemorating World AIDS Day by elevating the experiencing older people living with HIV, and remembering those that the community has lost to AIDS. With its national initiatives like the HIV/Aging Policy Action Coalition (HAPAC) and local services like its SAGEPositive program in NYC, SAGE works to amplify the voices and address the needs of long-term survivors and older people living with HIV.
The realities of a threatening public health crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic – one that disproportionately impacts communities of color – are all too familiar to LGBT older people. Many of the older LGBT people who lived through the AIDS epidemic 40 years ago are facing similar challenges today, such as people of color bearing the heaviest burden of COVID-19 at every stage, from risk of exposure, to access to testing and care, to severity of the illness and eventually death.
Many older people living with HIV did not expect to grow old. Similarly, the aging network, as well as HIV and LGBT-focused providers are not equipped to serve or address the unique needs of an older, HIV+ population. In fact, more than 50% of people living with HIV in the U.S. are aged 50 and older. Because of this, SAGE is educating and engaging policymakers at both the state and federal level, encouraging them to enact policies and fund programs in support of long-term survivors and older people living with HIV.
“In observance of World AIDS Day, SAGE’s work both highlights the resilience and addresses the needs of older people living with the virus, particularly LGBT people of color and Black trans women, who are among the groups that experience the highest rates of HIV,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “SAGE honors the resiliency of these communities by continuing to push for policies, programs, and solutions that result in a better world for long-term survivors and all older people living with HIV.”
“At 48 years of age, and having tested positive at 27, I near a phase in my life where HIV has been a part of my experience for nearly half of my life,” says SAGE HAPAC Member Tim’m T. West. “When I tested positive, I never imagined growing older. Now, I’m committed to working with HAPAC to ensure that our discussions about HIV treatment and care imagine a future where, as a Black queer man, I’m thriving at age 60, 70, and beyond.”
To commemorate World AIDS Day, SAGE’s HIV/Aging Policy Action Coalition (HAPAC) is collaborating with the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus to present a virtual Congressional staff briefing on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. The briefing will address the significant intersection of aging and living with HIV, unique challenges the community faces, and plans for addressing them.
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org