While HIV can now be a long-term, manageable chronic disease for many, this can present a unique set of challenges for those living and aging with the virus. Many people living with HIV describe feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is why it is so important to know how to find a community of support. The HIV: The Long View Coalition is sharing stories from long-term HIV survivors about facing their challenges and finding community networks of support. Through these stories, we hope to remind those living with HIV that they are never alone.
Meet Ed Shaw
Ed Shaw is a 76-year-old New Yorker who has been living with HIV for 29 years. He shares how he overcame shame and isolation to accept his diagnosis and become an activist for himself and others.
“HIV is something you shouldn’t have to go through alone. There’s always someone, somewhere that you can talk to. And it’s really important that you understand that. You’re never alone.”
Meet Michelle Lopez
Michelle Lopez was 24 when she and her infant daughter were diagnosed with HIV after leaving a domestic violence situation. Now 51, Michelle talks about facing challenges, building community, and giving back.
“If I had not found community, I truly believe I would have been dead. HIV is a diagnosis, it’s not a definition of who you are. You’re not alone, you’re never going to be alone.”
Meet Kim Watson
Kim Watson moved to the US from Barbados when she was 23, hoping to escape the abuse and stigma she’d encountered as a young woman of trans experience. Two years later, homeless and engaging in sex work, she was diagnosed with HIV. Now 54, Kim is a proud mother to her eight-year-old daughter and wife to her husband of more than 10 years. She’s living a full, active life with HIV and is sharing her story about how she overcame stigma, found her voice and established a community for herself and other people of trans experience.
“By speaking up and sharing my story, I hope to empower others to do the same. We’re in this together, we’re never alone.”
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