Virtual Event: Aging Positively — Reunion Project Set September 18, 2021
Local Organizations Collaborate on HIV & Aging Conference
Aging Positively — Reunion Project Set September 18, 2021
Aging Positively — Reunion Project, the annual Coachella Valley conference aimed at providing practical information and inspiration for those aging with HIV, will bring together community leaders to improve the lives of older adults living with HIV for a virtual conference on Sept. 18, 2021. The conference will feature an HIV research panel of top experts 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, this year’s event is the 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, about half of HIV-positive individuals in the U.S. are age 50 and above. Aging persons living 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 falls.
Karl Schmid, the entertainment reporter for ABC7 LA will speak on HIV and the media. The ABC reporter, who came out as HIV Positive in 2018, uses his multimedia platform, +Life, to educate and combat HIV stigma.
At ABC7, Karl has been a regular contributor since 2013, joining the team as a correspondent and producer on the then-weekly and syndicated “On The Red Carpet.”
A passionate activist in the fight against HIV stigma, Schmid launched +Life (www.pluslifemedia.com) in 2019 online to help foster a new conversation around what it means for people living with HIV and to tackle the stigma still associated with the virus. +Life is also part of Localish TV on the newly launched Localish TV network.
“HIV is not killing people but stigma is, and this is what needs to change,” Schmid said in a statement. “We need to talk more about HIV and its advancements, about what U=U means, and we should not be stigmatized by society.
“We need to have more information on mainstream media about how you contract HIV, prevention and treatments available so that people stop stigmatizing those that are positive and realize that anyone can have HIV and live a completely normal and healthy life.”
Since coming out as HIV-positive, Schmid has used his platform to educate and fight bias.
Keynote speaker Andy Bell of Erasure fame will share his personal story. Bell is a founding member of Erasure. Formed in 1985, when former Depeche Mode and Yazoo member Clarke advertised for a new singer. The duo quickly became enormously successful in the U.K., U.S., and several other countries with hits like “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect,” and “Oh L’amour.” Now, three decades into their career, they are considered one of the most adored and influential synthpop bands selling more than 25 million records. In 2019, Erasure released their 18th studio album, The Neon.
Bell has become an icon within the LGBTQ+ community for his honesty, compassion, and support. Among his support of various LGBTQ+ causes, Bell has served as an ambassador for New York’s Hetrick-Martin Institute, and he is currently a patron of the Cambridge, England-based charity Diverse and of Above The Stag, London’s only LGBTQ+ theater.
Topics and speakers:
Keynote speaker: Andy Bell from Erasure
“Honoring Our Experience” with Gregg Cassin
“KeeLee Meditation” with Dr. Daniel Lee, from the University of California, San Diego’s Owen Clinic
“HIV & The Media”: Karl Schmid is the entertainment reporter for ABC7 LA. He recently revealed his HIV status and has been an advocate for U=U as well as breaking down HIV stigma.
HIV research update panel:
Borrego Health: Valerio Iovino, i-Care
DAP Health: Dr. Tulika Singh
Eisenhower Health: Dr. Ken Lichtenstein
Palmtree: Dr. Carlos Martinez
HIV+ Aging Research Project-Palm Springs (HARP-PS): Jeff Taylor
Caregiving with Perry Wiggins from The Center, end-of-life doula Alex Snell, and Richard Bass from PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors)
“Let’s Kick ASS”: Brian DeVries speaks about sustaining and making new friendships late in life
What: The Aging Positively — Reunion Project 6th annual HIV conference is a collaboration between the HIV+ Aging Research Project—Palm Springs and other nonprofit community partners. It will be a virtual conference consisting of a mix of facilitated discussions, panels, and presentations led by key researchers, advocates, and long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.
When: The 6th Annual Aging Positively — Reunion Project virtual conference will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2021.
Where: Attendees can attend the conference from the digital device of their choice. In-person elements may be announced later.
How: Registration is free and open on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hiv-aging-virtual-conference-tickets-162082616469