FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Marie Fisher, Let’s Kick ASS Oregon
PHONE: 971-CALL LKA (225-2225)
ANNUAL HIV/AIDS LONG-TERM SURVIVORS AWARENESS WEEK
PORTLAND, OREGON, May 24, 2018: Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) – Oregon and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners proclaim the week of June 5 as the Annual HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Week in Multnomah County, Oregon.
On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a brief account of five gay men diagnosed with a rare form of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), indicating severe compromised immune systems. In addition to reports of cases of PCP and other opportunistic infections among gay men, CDC received reports of a cluster of cases of a rare and aggressive cancer, Kaposi Sarcoma, among a group of gay men in New York and California. By the end of 1981, 270 cases had been identified among gay men. This was the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Now, some 37 years later, with new treatments, HIV/AIDS is increasingly seen, for those newly infected, as a manageable chronic disease, but those who have survived the darkest decades face new major life challenges: physically, emotionally and spiritually. The CDC estimate that 50% of Americans living with HIV are over the age of 50; that number is projected to be 70% by 2020. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) surveillance data show that 51% of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS in Multnomah County are over the age of 50, many of whom are long-term survivors.
A national grassroots movement, named Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), has emerged to: (1) acknowledge the profound experiences and unique issues of long-term survivors, both HIV-positive and negative; (2) to challenge our communities’ institutions to acknowledge and address the symptoms of AIDS Survivor Syndrome; (3) to demand an end to disparities and discrimination; and (4) to tap into the strength, resilience and experiences of people who have learned how to survive against all odds.
Through this proclamation, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners calls on county departments and community institutions to work together to reduce health disparities, expand cultural competency, and tap into the strength, resilience and experiences of long-term HIV/AIDS survivors; and commit to supporting Let’s Kick ASS-Oregon.
For additional information about this proclamation, please contact Steven Headington, President and Co-Founder of Let’s Kick ASS Oregon, at 971-225-5552 or StevenH@letskickassoregon.org.
About Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) – Oregon:
With chapters in Portland and Eugene, Let’s Kick ASS Oregon aims to end social isolation in long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Northwest. Established in 2014 and granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2016, this statewide organization is wholly volunteer led and run, with no paid staff members and over 200 activity members. For additional information, please visit: https://letskickassoregon.org/.