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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's No Good to Suffer in Silence, to Treat Loneliness With Isolation

One of my dear Facebook friends posted a repost that she and I share a common interest in, loneliness and Isolation.  We all get these posts from time to time, they end by asking,  "at least one friend copy and repost (not share).  I wrote that I'd do better and repost on my blog, but read that it's good a good idea and would be better if I wrote my own story.

How we know one another is from local Senior Activity Center where we both met, and partake in programs that help bring people together.

Here we play bingo, parties like give-n-take where participants each bring three gifts worth $3.00 and we get five numbers and when a number is called we go to the table of gifts and take a bag, here's the thing there are more attendees then bags and anyone left with numbers gets to take from someone who has more than two bags.  It's a fun social event where lunch and dessert are served.

Other programs available are lunches for $1.25 suggestion, open to Seniors from town and surrounding towns and their friends.  It's here where I volunteer to teach basic computer skills, how to access wifi, the difference between data and wifi as the center offers wifi for free.

Rosemary and I understand these issues, we are both non-judgmental, supportive of one another, supportive of me as all who know me here know I struggle with Bipolar.  and aging with HIV“Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year.” (National Institute of Mental Health)."

Both of us have invited one another for coffee, made ourselves available to each other if we need to talk, we know the value of talking one on one, not with a text or email, those work and I have many friends around the World so meeting one on one isn't an option, but we do use Face time, Skype or Messenger or one of the many platforms that technology offers.

Just this past Sunday another friend asked me for help with her phone, I showed her how to take selfies and send to her family via a text where we asked if they have Skype as she wants to download and start video chatting.  

Many of our friends struggle with Isolation, Isolation doesn't discriminate it affects all walks of life and all ages.

Other Articles on Isolation and Loneliness:

Source: AgingCare.Com 


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Long Term Survivors Awareness Day June 5th, 2018

HIV Long Term Survivors’ Awareness Day

With all of the recent advances in HIV treatment and prevention, it can be easy to forget those who have been living with HIV/AIDS before these advances – before the approval for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as prevention in 2012; before approval of the first ‘highly active antiretroviral therapy’ (HAART) that began the transformation of HIV into a chronic illness in 1996; before the approval of the first antiretroviral drug, AZT, in 1987 – before that, when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. These people are considered Long Term Survivors, commonly known as LTS, and we honor this community on June 5th – the anniversary of the first report from the CDC on the illness that would come to be known as HIV/AIDS.
People who contracted HIV between these advances have very different lived experiences. Often dubbed “longest term survivors,” those who were HIV+ before the HAART era of treatment can suffer from forms of PTSD, not knowing whether they would live or die, and had often seen many friends wither away from the disease. Many survivors from this period also have long term side effects from early forms of therapy, which were much harsher on the liver, kidney and nervous system than current medications. Many also suffer not just from HIV, but from AIDS.
People living with HIV post HAART era, or after 1996, in many cases – though not all – had access to medications that were not only life-saving, but began the shift from HIV/AIDS as a fatal disease to a manageable chronic illness. And even more recently, going from a cocktail of drugs to only one or a few medicines a day.
Together, these LTS have witnessed monumental shifts in the way HIV/AIDS is treated, prevented and perceived, which is not to say that stigma and disparities do not exist.
Patient and Callen-Lorde Community Advisory Board member Bruce Pachter empathizes with people who have been recently diagnosed while acknowledging the perspective time has offered him. “I remember when I was first diagnosed. I made an appointment at Callen-Lorde and cancelled maybe 10 times because I knew. But I finally did it, and when the nurse called me in, I said you can’t tell me, but I know, and have to tell you. I’m HIV positive. At that point I was ready to accept my diagnosis. I had 86 T cells and a million and a half viral load. But I’ve come a long way since then.”
“Recently I was on a panel about being gay and aging, and I said, ‘Not only do I have to worry about geriatrics, but I also have to worry about how it affects my HIV status’ – and there were gasps. Someone went up to me after and said ‘You just outed yourself, how could you do that?’ And I said, ‘Everyone knows I’m gay, why do I care if they know I have HIV?’ So now, when people say to me ‘Why do you tell people?’ I say ‘Why not?’ People still have a stigma, but we have to break the stigma. If we just see each other as people instead of feelings attached to a label it’s a breakthrough. I’m proud of who I am.”
Callen-Lorde CAB Chair Stephen Pubiello agrees. “June 5th celebrates and honors long-term survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raises awareness of their unique needs and journeys. Each year since the inception, more and more LTS groups have started all over the country, each celebrating with a party, dinner, dance etc. There are also LTS groups on Facebook where groups range 200 – 4,500 members, offering day to day support on aging, questions on medications, and day to day life situations. It’s here in these groups where I’ve gotten my own support on mental health; it’s here that I know I’m not alone.”
Today, we honor all of the long term survivors and support them in their journey not just to survive, but to thrive.
Learn more and get resources at