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Video series profiles people 50 and older living and thriving with HIV

Video series profiles people 50 and older living and thriving with HIV

More than half of people living with HIV are over the age of 50, and living long, fulfilling lives. These are facts and faces that don't get much media attention, but they absolutely should. Seeing and hearing people who are living with HIV helps dispel the fear and the stigma that keeps people from getting tested and treated, perpetuating this 40-year epidemic. Their stories offer proof that with proper treatment, HIV is a condition they - and anyone - can live with, even thrive with.

It's a message that's desperately needed. GLAAD's 2021 State of HIV Stigma Study found that less than half of Americans knew that people with HIV cannot transmit it when being treated effectively.

Today, GLAAD and Gilead Sciences’ HIV Age Positively® program announced the launch of a weekly Instagram video series with Native Son featuring people 50 and over who are living with HIV. The video series will highlight personal stories and advocacy solutions of the community-based organizations that are using grants from HIV Age Positively to provide essential services to older people living with HIV.  The video series launches as HIV Age Positively enters its next round of funding, with 24 organizations across 11 states receiving $16.6 million to support people living with HIV who are over the age of 50, a group that is rapidly growing - the latest HIV Age Positively Progress Report shows that by 2030, at least 73% of people living with HIV will be over age 50. 

“People living with HIV are living long, healthy lives with proper care, facts that Gilead is paying close attention to, and that all of us must hear a lot more about," said DaShawn Usher, Associate Director, Communities of Color, at GLAAD. "We need the media to include the voices of older people living with HIV and the advocates fighting for their care, to amplify the facts necessary to stopping the epidemic, and correct the misinformation that fuels discrimination, stigma and new infections."

Native Son, a global platform, will join GLAAD in sharing the videos on their Instagram page through World AIDS Day on December 1. Native Son harnesses the collective power of Black gay/queer men with the goal of ensuring that their voices, visibility and lived experiences are elevated in all of the communities in which they exist and never again disregarded. 

“We are thrilled to celebrate the lives and acknowledge the unique challenges facing people aging with HIV,” said Emil Wilbekin, Founder of Native Son. “Gilead’s HIV Age Positively and GLAAD are playing an invaluable role fueling the worthiness and purpose of this community wherever they exist.” 

The video series kicks off with Michelle Lopez of HIV Treatment Works in New York, who explains that having HIV has not stopped her from living or from expanding her life, becoming a mother, and now, a grandmother.

Read the full story on the GLAAD blog.