Statement by National Association of People with HIV/AIDS Regarding the 30th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS

SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - Jun 2, 2011) -

For poignant stories about the impact of the 30
thAnniversary of HIV/AIDS, leadership from the largest and oldest advocacy group for people living with HIV/AIDS is available for interview. Contact Peter Kronenberg 240 247-1024 for assistance.

Thirty years ago, on June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control published the first mention of what later became known as HIV. We view this anniversary with sadness, for the nearly 30 million people who have lost their lives to the epidemic.i

"At this time of reflection, we must look forward to increase funding that can lead to cures and functional cures for HIV/AIDS," said Frank Oldham, Jr., President and CEO, National Association of People with HIV/AIDS. "Most people are stunned to learn that of our $1 billion investment in taxpayer dollars, less than 4 percent goes toward finding a cure or functional cure to end this epidemic.ii That must change.

"And although NAPWA is proud to represent all people living with HIV/AIDS, we must never forget that this epidemic hits disproportionately gay people of all colors, and Latinos and African Americans -- both men and women," said Mr. Oldham.

Although we're heartened to have antiretroviral treatments that extend survival, we must also remind government leaders, research directors, and others holding research budgets that these drugs contribute to premature death. As stated in the current issue of New York Magazine:iii

A massive multicountry study published in The Lancet in 2008 reported that someone starting [HAART] therapy at age 20 could expect to live to only 63. The following year, another study found that a group of HIV-positive patients with a median age of 56 had immune systems comparable to those of healthy 88-year-olds. The latent reservoir of HIV seems to be most to blame, producing inflammation that degrades the immune system, increasing susceptibility to age-related diseases. What's more, research has shown that the drugs themselves can lead to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

"I have been living with HIV for over 24 years," said Frank Oldham, Jr. "Like so many gay men, I lost nearly my entire group of friends and two partners over the course of the epidemic. Now in a clinical trial and at the age of 62, I am feeling better than ever. But on the 30th Anniversary of AIDS, we must never forget that over 500,000 people have died from AIDS in America. Over 250,000 of these deaths were gay men."

The National Association of People with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) is the largest and oldest advocacy group of and for people living with HIV/AIDS. The organization created AIDSWatch, the largest annual legislative briefing day by people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as National HIV Testing Day, June 27th, 2011. NAPWA's "Healthy Living" summit in Dallas, August 7, 2011 is the preeminent educational forum for the daily health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. More information is available at Follow us on Twitter @NAPWAUS.

i UNAIDS (2010) "Unite for universal access: Overview brochure on 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS"



Contact Information:

Peter Kronenberg
240 247-1024