Free New Orleans HIV/AIDS Support Group Gives Hope To Long-Term Survivors

Photo Courtesy of SAGE New Orleans

Next month will be the 40th anniversary of the first time HIV/AIDs was identified. To benefit individuals who were alive when the disease was first identified, and through the peak of the HIV/ AIDs epidemic, SAGE New Orleans is now offering a free HIV support group to help people who are aging with the disease. 

The free Aging Positively HIV support group will focus on building a community for and offering care to New Orleanians who are 50+ and have HIV. These individuals face unique challenges when it comes to the disease, and despite being alive during its most devastating years, often feel left behind when it comes to care and community. 

“This is a crisis that most people aren’t talking about, and it needs to be addressed. That’s what we aim to do here,” Jim Meadows, Executive Director of SAGE New Orleans, said. “This free group will provide the support and resources needed for a large segment of the population who are feeling left behind. If you are out there and feeling cut off or forgotten, please know you are not alone, and we are here for you.”

The group is run by SAGE New Orleans, an organization that hosts educational and socialization events for older LGBTQ+ adults. They hope the group will create a community for LGBTQ+ and heterosexual adults suffering from HIV. 

Boomers with HIV tend to feel like the forgotten generation, with much care oriented toward younger people suffering from the disease. Yet, in the United States, 51% of people with diagnosed HIV are 50 and older. Not to mention, in 2018 one in six new HIV diagnoses were for people 50 and older. 

Many of these individuals not only have to deal with grief and trauma from their diagnosis but are also at a high risk for inadequate medical and psychosocial support. Not to mention, they have to deal with the stigma of HIV, which can lead to feelings of reluctance and fear when it comes to reaching out for help.

People who are older and have HIV face unique health risks, like having an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, lung disease (specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary edema), bone loss, and certain cancers. They also have to be careful about interactions between medications used to treat HIV and those used to treat common age-related conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and obesity.

You can register for the Aging Positively HIV support group at Through the group, members will become empowered, gaining a sense of connection and community with others who have also struggled with this condition, especially during the isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The group aims to help build relationships, strength, and resilience through understanding, communication, and validation. Shared issues will be addressed through process-oriented discussion and evidence-based therapeutic interventions. The group will be facilitated by Susan Harrington, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Maison Vie New Orleans. 

The group’s first meeting will occur on Thursday, May 13th. Following the first meeting, meetings will be held once a week from May through December. Although meetings will initially take place on Zoom, as the pandemic continues to calm down they will eventually transition into in-person gatherings. 

For more information about the Aging Positively HIV Support group, or about SAGE New Orleans, email, call (504) 517-2345, or visit


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