Canadian Positive People Network
Réseau canadien des personnes séropositives
We honour Long-term Survivors of HIV
We will be posting personal reflections daily for the next while. Come back soon!
Over 50% of Canadians living with HIV are now over the age of 50. HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (HLTSAD) is June 5, 2021. The CPPN was to launch its own “HIV Long Term Survivor’s” campaign on June 5th, but, regrettably, the CPPN’s Executive Director (Jeff Potts, a long-term survivor himself) was ill and unable to fulfill his obligation. Jeff regrets that and extends his sincere apologies. Still, we are launching our campaign today and will keep it running for the next couple of weeks. We realize, though, that its impact can’t, shouldn’t, and won’t be possible without the input and participation of CPPN members from across Canada, specifically those who identify as long-term survivors.
The first HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day was on June 5, 2014; it was started by Tez Anderson, founder of Let's Kick Ass - AIDS Survivor Syndrome to celebrate the strength and resiliencies of people living the longest with HIV/AIDS. Tez choose this date as it’s the anniversary of the start of the AIDS pandemic, or at least it was the beginning of AIDS awareness before it was known as AIDS. This June 5th marks the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS identified in the US in 1981.
Who are long term survivors? There are a few definitions describing Long Term Survivor’s, the CPPN plans on holding community consultations at a later date to help us further define what it means to be considered a Canadian Long-Term Survivor. This is what we know pre-consultation.
One definition of LTS refers to those who have been living with HIV since before the modern era of effective HIV drugs, or "highly active antiretroviral therapy" (HAART). They are sometimes known as pre-HAART LTS or "longest-term survivors." They acquired HIV when the condition was, in most cases, a death sentence.
Another definition refers to people who have been living with HIV for more than ten years, and who were diagnosed after 1996. This group is sometimes known as post-HAART Long Term Survivor’s, and we know that is considered a very different experience than being diagnosed earlier in the epidemic.
Another group of long-term survivors that tends to be left out of conversations about long lives with HIV are the HIV-negative partners, companions, caretakers, community members, activists, and frontline professional care providers who directly supported people living with HIV in the earliest days of the epidemic. While our interview’s will focus on people who have lived many years with the virus in their bodies, many HIV-negative Long-Term Survivor’s also experienced tremendous losses and had their lives deeply affected by the epidemic.
The CPPN is launching a campaign to recognize and honour Long-term Survivors of HIV and we invite you to share your own perspective. If you choose to participate, you will be provided $100.00 in recognition of your time and your willingness to share your lived/living experience. If you would like to participate, click here to access the fillable form.