long term survivors1

On this Long Term Survivors Day, together as people living with HIV for many decades, let’s acknowledge the unique bond we share. We have experienced the highs and lows, and harsh realities of HIV, and we know that sugar-coating that reality has never served us.

Together we continue to recognise the devastating impact of the epidemic we’ve witnessed — the physical and emotional toll, the loss of our loved ones, the stigma, and the discrimination. We have demonstrated immense strength and determination in the face of adversity. We continue to navigate a world that often fails to grasp the complexities of living with this virus.

As long-term survivors, we have seen remarkable advancements in HIV treatment and care, and the transformative power of modern antiretroviral therapy. Our stories reflect the progress made in understanding, managing, and living with HIV.

Our voices must remain united and unwavering. We have weathered storms and emerged stronger. We will not be silenced or diminished. We must continue to challenge HIV stigma and discrimination, even when it feels like an uphill battle. As people with multifaceted dreams, passions, and ambitions beyond HIV, our experiences have forged us into individuals who possess a depth of knowledge and wisdom that cannot be easily dismissed.

As long-term survivors, we also have a responsibility to support one another and those who come after us. We possess a deep understanding of what it means to live with HIV — its complexities, its ups and downs, and its impact on our lives.

Our lived experiences provide valuable insight and guidance to those who are newly diagnosed or others living longer term with HIV. As we share our knowledge, debunk myths and misconceptions, and empower others to do the same,let’s surround ourselves with a network of support, whether it be friends,family, or communities that understand and embrace us for who we are. We have experienced hardships and often carried a heavy burden for far too long. Let us seek moments of joy, engage in activities that bring us fulfilment, and surround ourselves with people who uplift and understand us.

To our fellow long-term survivors, you are not alone. We have come this far, defying the odds and refusing to be defined solely by our HIV status. We celebrate the milestones we have achieved on this journey. Together, let’s shape a future that embraces the reality of living with HIV. Each day, each year, is a testament to our strength and resilience.

We are a community bonded by shared experiences, united in our determination to thrive, and committed to making a difference. We are honoured to stand alongside you on this remarkable journey. We extend our heartfelt support, gratitude and admiration to each and every one of you.

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