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GMHC Statement on National Long Time Survivor Day

6.5.2016

 

GMHC

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

June 6, 2016
Contact: Anthony Hayes | 917-601-0410 | AnthonyH@gmhc.org
 

STATEMENT
 

New York, New York - Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) released the following statement to honor long time survivors of HIV and AIDS.

STATEMENT BY GMHC CEO KELSEY LOUIE:

On June 5, 1981, the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published a brief account of five young gay men diagnosed with Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), indicating signs of severely compromised immune systems. This was the beginning of AIDS awareness before it was even known as HIV and AIDS.
 
The very next year, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) started a Buddy Program to help those dying from AIDS who were isolated and didn't have support from family to care for them. Buddies escorted clients to the hospital, medical appointments, and shopped for food and other household needs when clients became too weak to leave their homes.

All of our success as a community were made possibly because of the tenacity and fighting spirit the long term survivors embodied during the darkest times. They taught us how to organize and fight when no one was willing to help. According to the CDC, people aged 55 and older accounted for over one-quarter of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the United States. HIV is no longer a death sentence, which means that our society has a duty to care for those with HIV as they age. This is why GMHC relaunched our Buddy Program in 2015 to ensures that long term survivors are never forgotten and have access to services to aid with the isolation, depression, PTSD, and stigma. Most importantly, we remind long-term survivors that they matter, and that we are fully committed to helping them live their lives to the fullest.

Today honors some of the bravest Americans who have lived through the unthinkable and helped save countless lives because of their insistence on never giving up. As the world's first AIDS service organization, GMHC salutes our long terms survivors and together we will not only end the epidemic, but never give up on our collective goal of finding a cure.


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About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epidemic's largest U.S. epicenter. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.