The face of HIV is changing.
Changing demographics and an aging populaltion mean that, for the first time, half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV will be over 50 years old by the end of the year. The graying of HIV creates a whole new set of issues and unknowns, as many with HIV are living more than 20 years beyond original expectations..
The traveling art exhibit, Well Beyond HIV, makes its Chicago premiere this week as it continues to raise visibility of poz folks over 50 and awareness about what it means to age while HIV positive.
Curated in collaboration with Walgreens and The Graying of AIDS, the exhibit focuses on the challenges and triumphs of those aging with HIV through riveting portraits and personal, and sometimes emotional, testimonials. It's meant to gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of older adults living with HIV by highlighting the faces and stories of those over 50 allowing audiences to experience real-life stories of inspirational people aging with HIV.
“I spent so many years in fear of having to deal with stigma," says Greg Mahusay, one of the men featured in #WellBeyond. Mahusay, who is 54 years old, found out he had HIV in 1989, when it was still considered a death sentence. “I’ve become confident enough to not care anymore, and I think that comes with aging.”
This weekend the exhibit will be at Chicago's LGBT community center, Center on Halsted before continuing on to other locales. The site, WellBeyondHIV.com offers additional photos, videos and interviews.
Here are a few of the men and women who are part of the Well Beyond exhibition.