Long-term survivors gather to share stories of resilience
The Reunion Project South Florida for HIV long-term survivors took place January 27–29 at The Pride Center and World AIDS Museum in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Over 100 people attended the main event on Saturday, with a keynote address on strengthening emotional resilience by David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW, and additional breakout sessions on mindfulness techniques, addressing isolation, and the unique healthcare needs of HIV long-term survivors.
Following are just a few of the comments from participants. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, go to tpan.com/reunion-project. The Reunion Project is made possible by support from Bristol Myers-Squibb and TPAN.
Thank you for a fabulous conference with other long-term survivors who are thriving with HIV. The World AIDS museum was also incredible. You guys rock.
Taking part in The Reunion Project over the weekend renewed my faith that as long as we work collectively—rather than scattered solo efforts—we will experience the real reward of being in this community, inviting others to opt to be with us, rather than going it alone.
Thanks to all the staff of the Reunion Project for bringing this program to Fort Lauderdale, and to all the men and women who opened their hearts and made this such a rich and moving day.
—David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW
Thanks for a cathartic experience this weekend. Some of the reawakening was painful, but what a wonderfully safe space to process. I hadn’t realized how many of those decade-old wounds were there.
The weekend in Ft. Lauderdale was just what I needed. Thanks to your group and TPAN and the local facilitators for a memorable and healing experience. I have been changed for the better.
—Harry C.S. Wingfield
You made a difference
Dear Enid, Back in 1998, you helped save my life. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, my MRIs were like none they’d seen. I called POSITIVELY AWARE, and was referred to you. You told me about Dr. Justin McArthur of Johns Hopkins, head of neurology and doing brain research in HIV patients. He consulted with my doctors, and I even traveled to Baltimore once to see him. Not only am I alive today, but in 2006, I won Housing Works’ Keith D. Cylar Award for HIV Advocacy. God sent me to you, and spared me for a reason. Thank you!
Enid Vázquez replies: Thank you for such a powerful and beautiful note. I am so grateful that I was able help. The world has much to be grateful for with your good health and survival!
In the Eye of the Storm
Just read the first chapter of Ross Slotten’s book. I felt as though he was walking into my hospital room, or I was on his shoulder watching and reading his mind. Do you know when it’ll be published? He was my very first HIV doc and was so kind and knowledgeable.
Do you know if the journals that Dr. Ross Slotten kept have been published (“In the Eye of the Storm,” January+February 2017)? Ross was my late partner Randy Treff’s doctor. I will never forget how good he was in caring for Randy—and for me.
founding TPAN board member
Associate Editor Enid Vázquez replies: The book has not yet been published. We, too, eagerly await to see it.