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 17, 2022 from 10 am–3 pm. The conference will feature top experts in HIV research on a panel discussing HIV and aging issues in our community.
September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day—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 Eisenhower Health, 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, more than half of HIV positive individuals in the US are age 50 and above. People 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, and now COVID and Monkeypox (MPX/MPox).
Featured Speaker, Porchia Dees is a “Vertical” who was born with HIV, has been living with HIV her entire life, and has become a vocal advocate for her fellow “Verticals” who are often left out of long-term survivor discussions, or have little to no research on their unique clinical & psychosocial health challenges.
Keynote Speaker, Jack Mackenroth from Project Runway, will share his personal story. Mackenroth was a contestant on an early season of Project Runway, when a health issue forced him to disclose his HIV status and he had to withdraw from the competition. He will talk about his experiences, and how that led him to becoming an HIV and LGBTQ advocate.
Other topics and speakers include: Steve Rossetti, MS on courageously moving forward during times of increasing uncertainty, a roundtable with Let’s KICK AIDS Survivor Syndrome members, an HIV research update panel with Golkoo Morcos, PharmD (BIOS Clinical), Ann Stapleton, MD (Eisenhower Health), Carlos Martinez, MD (Palmtree Medical Research), and Jeff Taylor (HARP-PS). There will also be a Monkeypox update with Dr Phyllis Ritchie (PS Test STD Clinic).
Brad Fuhr, owner of KGAY 106.5 and GayDesertGuide.LGBT, will be moderating the day’s events. Both KGAY & Gay Desert Guide are media sponsors of Positively Aging Project.