Berry will lead the U.S. national alliance of long-term survivors of HIV.
For Immediate Release: September 13, 2022
Contact: Waheedah Shabazz-El
Phone: (215) 605-2184
For the first time HIV long-term survivors are now included in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. As the U.S. and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) commemorate National HIV and Aging Awareness Day (#NHAAD) on September 18, the unique needs of long-term survivors require bold action and visionary leadership. The Reunion Project (TRP), the national alliance of HIV long-term survivors, today announced that Jeff Berry has joined as its first executive director, effective September 1. Berry, who has been living with HIV for over 35 years, previously served as chair of The Reunion Project’s National Steering Committee.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this great organization, and grateful to the funders who helped make it happen,” says Berry. “We are on the cusp of a silver tsunami of people living and aging with HIV who require services tailored to their unique needs. Isolation and other mental health issues have been exacerbated by COVID-19, so there is no time to waste and no better time for renewed focus on the myriad issues facing long-term survivors and people aging with HIV.”
History of The Reunion Project
Berry joins The Reunion Project from TPAN, where he served as chief editorial officer and editor of the country’s leading non-profit HIV magazine Positively Aware since 2005. Berry, who has 30 years of experience working in the non-profit and publishing world, is co- founder of The Reunion Project. Since its inception, The Reunion Project has established itself as the national network of long-term survivors of HIV. There are not any longstanding and continuous opportunities, at the national level, that have adopted a for-us- by-us approach to addressing the psychosocial aspects of persons aging with HIV and AIDS aside from the work of The Reunion Project.
“We are proud to support The Reunion Project and its network of long-term survivors. Gilead knows the importance of facilitating organic connections and empowerment opportunities for long-term survivors through creative programming,” says Darwin Thompson, Director of Corporate Giving at Gilead Sciences. “The work of The Reunion Project has been critical to cultivating these safe spaces.”
The Reunion Project convenes groups of HIV long-term survivors and allies in targeted U.S. cities and virtual settings for personal and professional development for the growing and aging HIV and AIDS population (i.e., 379,000 people as of 2018, CDC). The convening is done through town halls, education, storytelling, networking, and information dissemination via peer-based support within in-person settings and web-based platforms.
“I’m excited and encouraged to see the tireless work of a diverse group of long-term survivors evolve from an all-volunteer effort to the naming of a full-time executive director,” says Marc Meachem, Head, U.S. External Affairs, ViiV Healthcare. “We were honored to support The Reunion Project and know that Jeff and the steering committee will build on the body of work to elevate the voices, experiences, and needs of long-term survivors in our national dialogues around ending the HIV epidemic.”
Founded in 2015 by activists living with HIV, The Reunion Project is the national alliance of long-term survivors of HIV, collaborating with local and national HIV advocates, providers and researchers. Together, we convene and connect individuals and communities, sharing our experiences of survival and loss while honoring our past, and developing successful strategies for living and supporting one another—today and into the future.