Back when HIV was first diagnosed in San Francisco, it hit the gay male population hard. Since that time, the virus has spread to more diverse communities. Naina Khanna is the executive director for Positive Women’s Network, which represents more than 2,500 HIV positive women. In 2010, she was appointed to president Obama’s Advisory council on HIV/AIDS. When Khanna herself was diagnosed with HIV in 2002, she was actually working on a different political campaign, as she told KALW’s Ben Trefny.
People 50 years or older now make up the majority of HIV and AIDS cases in San Francisco. Since HIV emerged in the 1980s, treatments have improved -- allowing people to live longer with this chronic illness. So as the number of older people living with HIV grows, so do the other things that come with age -- like access to affordable housing and health care, mental health issues and isolation.
It takes all kinds of people to help support those with HIV. Friends and co-workers Adrienne Elias and Eric Sutter come from very different backgrounds, but they both feel passionate about their work at Shanti, a San Francisco non-profit dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with HIV and other life threatening illnesses.