Aging and HIV Media Highlights & Project Updates

In the Global Village of the XIX International AIDS Conference – held in Washington, DC, from July 22-27, 2012 – The Graying of AIDS team (Katja Heinemann, Naomi Schegloff, and Viviana Peretti) worked with adults age 50+ living with HIV/AIDS from around the world to create A Graying Pandemic, a series of photographic portraits and interviews that explores what it means to be aging with the virus around the globe.

We are delighted that the topic of aging and HIV/AIDS received so much attention at the conference (including a number of presentations and an excellent satellite conference coordinated by ACRIA, our collaborating partners on A Graying Pandemic; we are even more excited that a variety of media outlets made a point of ensuring that the message got out to the larger public.

Here are a number of links to some of that coverage, including mainstream American outlets like ABC News, The Washington Post (we’re featured in pics 7 & 8 ), the Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times, and key international publications like The Mail and Guardian. In the months since the conference, and coinciding with National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, additional coverage has come out of important media outlets that target the HIV/AIDS community, including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s BETA blog, and powerhouse information clearinghouse has launched a brand new aging and HIV/AIDS focused resource page, held a roundtable discussion on the topic, and highlighted the long term research on “HIV and Premature Aging” that Amy Justice, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine and public health at the Yale School of Medicine and lead investigator of the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) presented at AIDS2012. Finally, organizations and advocates who have been working to get the word out about aging and HIV/AIDS for some time have continued to fight the good fight, including our colleagues at, and our friends and collaborators in Baltimore, Anna Fowlkes and Dorcas Baker, who are featured on a local radio program discussing the issue.

If you weren’t able to travel to DC for the conference, it can be hard to adequately communicate the level of excitement, energy, enthusiasm, emotion, and (at times) exhaustion that characterized the week’s activities. We were so fantastically busy, we were rarely able to stray far from our installation area, but we could hear the roar of political action, animated information sharing, HIV-positive activists from Native and Aboriginal nationsdrumming and chanting, a broad range of choral groups from around the world singing, fashions shows and dance presentations and joyful reunions filling the space around us. Above all of that rose the voices of the incredible people who sat down to share their stories with us: here are some behind-the-scenes snapshots of our experience creating and expanding A Graying Pandemic with exceptionally generous and lovely older positive adults from 12 countries, 13 American states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Whenever we had a moment of downtime between portrait shoots or interviews we processed the interviews and photographs we had just created and got them up on the wall as quickly as possible, but we became increasingly busy as the week wore on, so much of the work never made it onto the walls of our installation in the Global Village. Our on-line exhibition is still a work-in-progress, but a large number of the images created in DC – and an initial cross-section of interview excerpts – can be accessed there (please check back often to watch it grow).

Finally, we’ve been delighted to bring a selection of this work to New York City’s beautiful Governors Island as part of the 5th Annual Governors Island Art Fair this summer. The fair, which is free and open to the public, runs every Saturday and Sunday in September (closing this Sunday, September 30th). Visitors are able to roam 120 rooms and attic spaces across five historic buildings once used for military housing that currently feature work by more than 100 international artists and a handful of galleries and organizations. The work shown represents a variety of media: painting, photography, sculpture, video, drawings, performance, installation, and everything in between. If you happen to be in the metropolitan New York area this weekend, we hope you’ll come by and visit our installation before it closes. A complete list of exhibitors and more information on the free ferry service to the island can be found on the event website.

For more images and excerpts from this project, go to:

images courtesy of Viviana Peretti and Allison Shelley