NMAC Launches the National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network
On September 16, 2021, NMAC and its Strong and Healthy Program launched the National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network (NHAAN) to commemorate the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (September 18).
Moises Agosto, Director of Treatment, said in NMAC’s press release, “NHAAN is a network of individuals advocating for our collective and cumulative interests as persons aging with HIV. For the past year, a group of NMAC’s HIV 50+ scholars has been creating NHAAN to build a strong network of HIV 50+ advocates on the foundation established by the Denver Principles and MIPA. The Network’s vision is to envision a world in which all people thrive as they age with HIV: Physically, socially, financially, spiritually, emotionally, and in all aspects of their lives.”
The CDC estimates that by 2030, PLHIV fifty years and older will constitute 70% of the individuals living with HIV in the U.S. This group comprises the first and largest cohort of people living with HIV. Clinical data suggest that aging with HIV will become a significant public health challenge requiring action at the federal, state, and local levels, as aging PLHIV face premature aging and comorbidities, isolation and loneliness, and many psychosocial, mental, and economic difficulties.
“There are a significant number of issues that need attention,” said Agosto. “First, we need biomedical research to understand better the biology of aging with HIV. Second, we need to upgrade the regular medical care and psychosocial services for HIV+ people to respond to the needs of those HIV 50+. Same with mental health, substance abuse, and other social determinants of health. Aging and HIV have a prominent place in NMAC’s policy agenda.”
NHAAN’s first action will be “Advocating for Older People Living with HIV,” a virtual panel on HIV and aging. The panel will occur on Friday, Sept. 17, at 3:00 PM ET. Registration is available here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sBuQzsa9TgqFK4BNuRTlMQ. Other planned actions include lobbying for the modernization and reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act; getting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to prioritize and fund research on HIV and aging; and encouraging collaboration between the Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV AIDS Bureau (HAB) and the HHS Administration on Aging.
For more information on NHAAN, please visit https://www.nmac.org/empowerment-actions-to-advance-the-hiv-elders-policy-agenda/.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-one-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.