The award-winning HIV Long-Term Survivor activist-writer-speaker has been living with HIV since 1983. He says the ‘fight’ to combat HIV/AIDS is not over and continues to valiantly shift the perceptions of HIV/AIDS and its long-term effects.
Change agents have the ability to create a significant sea change, and by all accounts, Tez Anderson has done just that when it comes to raising the awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Anderson is the robust founder of Let's Kick ASS, surprisingly the very first and now, the largest group in the world with a mission to improve the lives of HIV long-term survivors and many older adults aging with HIV. Anderson actually came up with the ASS acronym—AIDS Survivor Syndrome—in an effort to describe the effects of Complex-Traumatic Stress (CTS) affecting many long-term survivors.
And Anderson should know. He has been living with HIV since 1983.
Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Anderson moved to San Francisco in the 1980s and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with HIV. He had already morphed into a civil rights activist and as the decades unfolded, he began to see a growing need for support and understanding among long-term HIV/AIDS survivors. When he formed Let’s Kick Ass in 2013 in San Francisco, the ripple effects spread wide. (Notable chapters sprouted in Portland, Ore., and Palm Springs, Ca., among other cities.) But he didn’t stop there. A year later, he created HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day in 2014 in an effort to shed light on those living longest with HIV, particularly those who had “felt forgotten and invisible as they age with HIV.”
Take note: June 5, 2018 is HIV Long Term Survivors Day, boasting the appropriate hashtag: #itsnotover—June 5 commemorates the day in 1981 when the CDC first announced the “mysterious illness” killing young gay men, marking the beginning of HIV/AIDS awareness before it was known as HIV/AIDS.
Since the inception of Let’s Kick Ass, Anderson has become a sought-after speaker and remains a vigilant advocate for improving the lives of older adults aging with HIV. Now 57, he lives in San Francisco with his husband Mark Ruiz.
Here, the activist opens up in my newly launched interview show, “Mystics in a Chat Room: Conversations With Agents of Change (see related video).”
To learn more about Tez Anderson and Let’s Kick Ass, or to become more involved, click here.