After AIDS 2020: Virtual, the biennial conference of the International AIDS Society in July, five activists from San Francisco got together to perform a postmortem on the conference. All of us noted that we long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS were practically ignored at the conference, relegated again to the sidelines — out of over 100 hours of presentations, only two one-hour sessions dealt with the issues and challenges that long-term survivors face every day. That is unconscionable.
Of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, long-term survivors comprise more than 55% and are over the age of fifty; experts predict that by 2030, we will make up over 70% of PLHIV (in San Francisco, we already make up 65%). We face accelerated aging, making us susceptible to multiple comorbidities some 12 to 15 years earlier than our HIV-negative friends, yet the physical, mental, and emotional health of us long-term survivors has received scant attention from the medical and scientific communities.
Hoping to correct this situation, the five of us composed The San Francisco Principles 2020, outlining who we are, the challenges we face, and our demands for more equitable healthcare for long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.
Everything the world knows about HIV/AIDS has been learned on the backs of us long-term survivors. And we will no longer be ignored