By Paul Kawata • NMAC NMAC recently completed an assessment of people living with HIV over 50. What does it mean to survive the automatic death sentence that was AIDS? Unfortunately, survival was not as joyful as we hoped. Depression and isolation are major challenges. Given everything, this is not really a surprise. In a blink of an eye, I can be back in 1989 in the hospital room, hospice or funeral home. Planning or making decisions that no 20 something should ever make. When families don’t show-up for their children, their friends become their family. We stepped into roles not fully understanding the long-term consequences. Sitting at bedsides saying it’s OK to let go. Planning fabulous memorials because our friend/lover was going to leave this world as fiercely as they had lived. This year’s USCA Family Reunion will celebrate families that came together because of the virus. At the end of this email is information on how to apply for special scholarships for leaders working with People Living with HIV who are 50 plus. The deadline to apply is June 2nd. Thank you Gilead for underwriting this important initiative. We are looking warriors who have survived, who understand that building community is a way to end the depression and isolation that confronts too many people living with HIV over 50.
The world is not a nice place to people who are diseased. When you add race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or drug use, well you get the picture. The deck was already stacked against us, but we were too native to realize it. We believed we could change the world. In fact, we did. Hopefully this belief will also get us through the Trump administration, moving forward to end the epidemic.
Imagine my joy when I got to meet last year’s USCA scholars over 50 living with HIV. Life has been hard for them, yet they are still fighting to make the world a better place. They understood that when you work to make the world a better place, you also make it a better place for yourself. When you help others manage their depression and end their isolation, you help yourself. Together we are on this journey. Brought together by a virus.
General Criteria NMAC is pleased to announce the 2017 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy scholarship program. Scholarships will be given to HIV peer educators and service providers that work with the HIV 50+ population. We are looking for leaders, warriors who have survived. You must be affiliated with a community-based organization, community health clinic and/or health departments establishing aging and HIV initiatives. Geographic diversity will be important, with a special focus on the South and urban regions where HIV disproportionately impacts the 50 and older HIV+ community.
NMAC will give out 50 scholarshipswith a limit of one scholarship per agency.
Scholarship covers: Registration, 5 nights of hotel & coach ticket to Washington DC.
Scholarship recipients must book their travel with NMAC’s travel agent. Travel must be booked at least 45 days prior to the start of USCA. The conference only purchases coach class tickets via air, train or bus. Recipients must live at least 50 miles outside of the Washington DC to be eligible for the travel and hotel portion of the scholarship.
Applying for the HIV50+ Scholarship
Be affiliated or work for a community-based organization, health department or community health center that serves 50 and older HIV + people of color,
Strong ties to the HIV community and working experience in the HIV field,
Be committed to follow up after the conference on HIV50+ local activities,
Fully engaged with other scholars and the USCA’s program,
Participate in all activities set-up for the scholarship recipients,
For the first time, NMAC is requiring all scholarship participants to participate in HIV Action Day.This includes our youth and over 50 living with HIV delegates.Scholarship recipients are required to participate in the online training, attend at least one hill visit and officially check into the Opening Reception.
Failure to do these tasks will result in the forfeiture of the scholarship.
You are not alone. Most of us feel the exact same way. Maybe some are better at hiding. Your commitment to this work is a mirror for your life. As we learned early in the epidemic, when we help others, we also help ourselves.