June 5th is an important day in the history of HIV/AIDS.  2019 is the 38th anniversary since AIDS arrived unannounced, unnamed and unwelcome in 1981 in a report by the CDC the MMWR.  It described five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia among previously healthy young gay men in Los Angeles.  It’s the first official reporting of the AIDS epidemic, according to the CDC and HIV.gov.  All five cases were young gay men in Los Angeles and two of them had died.

June 5, 1981 was the beginning of AIDS Awareness before it was identified as AIDS.

June 5, 1981 is cited as beginning of the AIDS pandemic.

HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (HLTSAD) is an annual AIDS Awareness Day to celebrate and honor people living longest with HIV/AIDS.

It is also an opportunity chance to spotlight the unique role HIV Long-Term Survivors (HLTS) in the AIDS epidemic. And to raise awareness about the challenges and resilience of individuals who were on the frontlines of the early epidemic.  Now they are on the first-generation aging with HIV. Over half of all people living with HIV are over age 50. Estimates are 25% of people with the virus have had it since 1996 and earlier when HIV was a terminal diagnosis.

It’s our responsibility to ensure these survivors and older adults people have access to physical and mental health care, medication, food, and housing. We must end laws and policies which criminalize people living with HIV, and make sure every young person living with HIV is cared for and valued.