Positively Aging Project, the annual Coachella Valley conference aimed at providing practical information and inspiration for those living long-term with HIV, will bring together community leaders to improve the lives of older adults living with HIV for a hybrid in-person and virtual conference on September 23, 2023. 

The conference will feature top experts in HIV research on a panel discussing HIV and aging issues in our community with a focus on “Mind, Body & Soul” and the integration and importance of each in a thriving with HIV. 

Historically, the conference is held on or around National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on September 18th —a day to call attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV and to aging-related challenges of HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care.  

The virtual conference is free to attendees and open to the public. Presented by Mr. Bruce Purdy and Mr. Barrett Shepherd, this years’ event is a result of a unique collaboration among local service providers and organizations focused on improving the shared experience of older adults living with HIV. 

People with HIV are living longer lives, thanks to advancements in scientific research and medical treatments: Today, 50% people living with HIV in the US are age 50 and above – that number that is expected to rise to 75% by 2030. Individuals aging with HIV have experienced tremendous loss, stigma, and discrimination throughout their lifetime and within the healthcare system.  In comparison to similar HIV- negative populations, individuals aging with HIV may experience an early onset of aging complications such as neurocognitive decline, impaired physical function, frailty, and psychosocial challenges like isolation, depression, and PTSD from living through the early HIV pandemic. 

  • Keynote Speaker: Peter Staley Peter Staley has been a long-term AIDS and gay rights activist, first as a member of ACT UP New York, then as the founding director of TAG, the Treatment Action Group. He was a 2016 Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and is a leading subject in the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague. More recently, Staley co-founded the PrEP4All Collaboration and the COVID-19 Working Group—New York, and is the lead named plaintiff in Staley v Gilead, a major federal antitrust case against big pharma set for trial next year. Staley recently published his memoirs, titled NEVER SILENT: ACT UP and My Life in Activism.

Other Speakers include:

  • HIV research update panel
    • Bios Clinical: Golkoo Morcos, PharmD
    • Desert Oasis: Brook Yates,
    • Eisenhower Healthcare: Ann Stapleton, MD
    • Palmtree Clinical Research: Carlos Martinez, MD
    • HIV+ Aging Research Project: Jeff Taylor, Executive Director
  • Ted Guice – Personal Trainer focusing on HIV & Fitness after fifty
  • Jack Newby presenting the Brain Game Program offered at The Joslyn Center
  • David Grelotti, MD – UC San Diego Medical Cannabis Research and Ruth Hill, RN speaking on the use of medical cannabis
  • Thomas Roth, Certified Instructor, Transcendental Meditation & Director of the David Lynch Foundation HIV Wellness Initiative
  • The Roundtable – Conversations that build friendships and communities

The Positively Aging Project 8th annual HIV conference is a collaboration between the HIV+ Aging Research Project and other nonprofit community partners. It is a hybrid – in-person and virtual conference, consisting of a mix of facilitated discussions, panels, and presentations led by key researchers, advocates, and long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS

September 23, 2023

9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

The Mizell Center 480 S. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

And online via Zoom

Registration is free and now open via Eventbrite:  EIGHTH ANNUAL POSITIVELY AGING PROJECT SYMPOSIUM Tickets, Sat, Sep 23, 2023 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite

Or through the HIV+Aging Research Project site

Participants may also attend via Zoom by using this link

Collaborating Organizations

Mr. Bruce Purdy & Mr. Barrett Shepard This is the 2nd year in a row that Mr. Purdy & Mr. Sheppard are Presenting sponsors for the Positively Aging Project. Together for 38 years, they actively support and serve organizations that focus on gay health and the gay community. They reside in both Maryland and Palm Springs.

DAP Health
DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC) whose goal is to protect and expand health care access for all people — especially the disenfranchised — regardless of who or where they are, their health status, or whether they have health insurance. 

In 2023, the nonprofit made a successful bid to acquire the Borrego Health System, enabling it to serve a total of more than 100,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego. 

Founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of volunteers and thanks to nearly 40 years of experience caring for those affected not only by the HIV epidemic but by various other public health emergencies (COVID-19, mpox), DAP Health has the physical and intellectual resources, the drive, and — most importantly — the vision to effect even greater change by positively impacting its diverse patient populations’ social determinants of health (SDOH). 

According to the World Health Organization, SDOH are “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.” 

Eisenhower Health

  • Eisenhower HIV Clinic: Recognizing the complex health care needs of the LGBTQ patient population, Eisenhower Medical Center offers a comprehensive range of clinical, research and education resources — starting with a team of dedicated primary care doctors and Infectious Disease Specialists who have exceptional experience and expertise. 
  • Eisenhower HIV Clinic Primary Care Services: Providing state-of-the-art care for HIV patients requires knowledge of the latest treatments and best practices in the detection and treatment of HIV. Eisenhower’s HIV Primary Care program is focused on the overall health of each patient, including:
    • Appropriate utilization of advances in HIV care to sustain the best possible quality of life, including appropriate STD and cancer screening as well as healthy aging. 
    • Best practices to prevent the spread of HIV.
    • Compassionate access to new medicines for highly drug-resistant patients.
  • Our team includes HIV primary care doctors Board Certified in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine, with an additional certification as an HIV specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM). 
  • Eisenhower Health is proud to collaborate with many nonprofit organizations here in the Coachella Valley providing HIV and related healthcare services, through partnership connectivity of services, referrals, and education. 


Desert Oasis Healthcare

Formed in 1981 as one of the first medical groups in the desert communities of southern California, Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) continues to advance with changes in the healthcare market. DOHC provides primary and immediate care, home health, palliative care, clinical research studies and other services to more than 60,000 members/patients living in the greater Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The multidisciplinary and comprehensive care programs of DOHC are committed to educating individuals on preventive health care in their daily lives, reflected in the DOHC motto, “Your Health. Your Life. Our Passion.” For more information, visit www.mydohc.com.

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association has been serving the Coachella Valley for 24 years and works to provide care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. We are here to help.  We provide caregivers and families with comprehensive resources and information, including care and support services, education and social engagement opportunities.  Our office is located at 74020 Alessandro Dr, Palm Desert or by phone at 760-996-0006.  We conduct face-to-face and virtual support groups and education programs throughout the Coachella Valley and work to ensure that these services reach diverse and underserved populations.  All programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association are completely free of charge to our desert community.  

Brad Fuhr – Moderator

As owner of KGAY 106.5 an103.1 MeTV Music radio as well as “The Gay Desert Guide” all of which are media sponsors of The Positively Aging Project, Brad will be moderating our event for the fifth year in a row. Brad also operates OMGPSP (Oasis Marketing Group), a digital and social media agency.

GayDesertGuide.com is a top digital destination for locals and visitors alike with a robust online events calendar, attractions, bar and dining guide and tips for travelers. Brad’s weekly blog and newsletter is read by thousands as they plan their Palm Springs weekend.

KGAY 106.5 is one of the top radio stations in the Palm Springs market with award-winning personalities, dance hits and community service elements including the “KGAY Cares” program which donates airtime to local non-profits. MeTV Music radio 103.1 is a soft rock radio station featuring timeless and memorable music spanning the decades from the 60s through the 80s.  

Brad was recognized by the Desert Business Association as 2015 Business of the Year and in 2018 as Businessperson of the Year.  The City of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission honored him with their Community Service Award for “Promoting Universal Human Rights Closer to Home” in February 2018.  He used the award to springboard into starting at Gay4Good community service organization chapter in Greater Palm Springs. He serves on the board of the LGBTQ+ Archives Project and the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast committee.

Brothers of the Desert
Brothers of the Desert (BOD) is a non-profit organization formed in 2017 that provides a growing network of support for Black gay men and allies in the Coachella Valley. Its mission is to “Nurture and support Black gay men and allies through philanthropy, volunteerism, mentorship, education, advocacy, and social networking.” Some relevant activities include:

  • Annual Wellness Summit meetings focused on physical and mental health issues
  • affecting Black gay men, including HIV/AIDS
  • A Black HIV/AIDS Awareness broadcast program providing testimonies on HIV in the Black gay men’s community.
  • Participation in and fundraising for the Desert AIDSWALK.

HIV+Aging Research Project-Palm Springs  www.HARP-PS.org

  • The HIV+Aging Research Project-Palm Springs is a community non-profit that conducts research and provides education to improve the quality of life for long-term HIV survivors here in the Coachella Valley.  
  • We collaborate with academic partners throughout Southern California and nationally to conduct socio-behavioral research on issues like resiliency & COVID affecting HIV survivors.
  • HARP-PS was the first organization to take the lead on the Monkeypox (MPX) epidemic by conducting bi-weekly Town Halls with community members, state, county, and city public health officials and providers, as well as a weekly Taskforce meeting with the State, County and City.
  • We provide the monthly Positive Life HIV Education Series with topics and speakers tailored to the unique needs of our HIV survivor community.
  • HARP-PS conducts monthly provider/clinician education programs to educate them on advances in HIV treatment and relevant care topics for our unique aging HIV+ population. This is the only cross-institutional program for clinicians in the valley, and they value this opportunity to meet and interact with their peers.
  • Created the annual Positively Aging Project (formerly the Aging Positively Reunion Project) daylong regional seminar to bring together the HIV & aging community in Southern California which is held each year on or around HIV &Aging Awareness Day.  

Jewish Family Service of the Desert 

JFS is a non-sectarian, nonprofit, social service agency serving the needs of Coachella Valley residents. JFS offers services for all, in the areas of Mental Health Counseling, Case Management and Community Programs.

Since its inception as part of the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert Area in 1982,  JFS has grown—not just in size, but in its ability to serve the people of the Coachella Valley.

Beginning as a small group of volunteers who checked in on seniors and disabled people who lived alone, JFS Desert has evolved into an organization of professionals and volunteers that provide a broad range of support and services to thousands of Coachella Valley residents each year:  Our experienced case managers can assist in exploring potential resources. They will assess clients’ eligibility for services and programs and can help facilitate the application process to obtain benefits and support.

Our case managers are a resource for the Coachella Valley, providing emergency financial assistance to prevent homelessness. JFS also works with local and county organizations to advocate for the rights of seniors in the Valley.

The JFS case management team takes a holistic service approach, collaborating with internal departments to ensure clients’ needs are addressed.

We are dedicated to making sure that mental health issues and affordable housing stay front and center for our Valley citizens.

Joslyn Center
The Joslyn Center is dedicated to leading the way in enhancing the well-being of adults 50+ through innovative programs and services.  We help older adults and seniors live healthy and fulfilling lives through a variety of classes, activities, social services, and counseling.  Join us and take a look at our calendar with over 65 classes and activities to keep you active and engaged.

Let’s Kick Ass

Let’s Kick ASS Palm Springs is an inclusive social group seeking to reduce the stresses of AIDS  Survivor Syndrome. We welcome members regardless of HIV status, race, gender, age, or sexuality, believing that the individual is the best judge of the impact of HIV on their life. We organize social functions providing opportunities to develop friendships and community. 

We support education and advocacy to raise awareness of AIDS Survivor Syndrome, long-term survivors, and the challenges they face. 

People feel better when engaged in social activity. LKA Palm Springs helps long-term survivors overcome isolation by creating social opportunities: From our popular monthly potlucks, twice-monthly coffee socials, the Bowling Team, and our movie nights, to now establishing annual events such as our June 5, Long-term Survivors Day reception, and our Thanksgiving Day feast. LKAPS benefits its members through engagement with our local community of HIV survivors. 


PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors) is a volunteer-led community initiative based in Palm Springs, CA, that helps LGBTQ+ adults and friends to plan ahead before a health or other life-altering situation arises.  Having a plan in place mitigates stress and anxiety, ensures that you are in control of your future care and legacy, and relieves the burden on family and friends. 

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

At the Center, our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our vibrant LGBTQ community.

Our vision is to create a vibrant community of love and support that stretches beyond our Center’s doors, where we strive to meet all members of the LGBTQ community where they are and provide them the services they need to thrive.

Our mission is to provide an open and welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ family. Through the use of our individual lived experiences and collective power, we host community events, assistance programs, and various other forms of support in our efforts to create a loving community where everyone belongs.