About us

We support the well-being of aging adults living with or affected by HIV.

We envision a thriving, member-driven community that fosters hope and creates a sense of belonging among aging adults living with or affected by HIV and everyone who supports us.

Our values

Belonging

If you are an aging adult living with or affected by HIV, you’re always welcome here.

Visibility

We recognize, share, and honor the life experiences of all individuals in our community.

Resilience

We believe in the power of human connection to heal wounds and inspire hope.

Inclusion

We accept the responsibility for creating a positive culture, and safeguarding equity, dignity, and respect for all. We invite your suggestions on how we might improve.

Community-driven

We believe everyone who participates in Aging Well—from first-time visitors to longtime participants—should have a say in the direction of our community.

Learning

We’re committed to helping others understand our strengths, needs, and experiences—and in enlisting their commitments and resources to build support.

Collaboration

We believe that we accomplish our best work with others, realizing that we strengthen each other by sharing each other’s values and resources.

Aging Well program staff

Jim Clay

Aging Well Program team lead

Jim has been part of the HIV community since the earliest days, serving in numerous personal and professional capacities. In 1985 he was a founding member, board member, board officer, program director and then executive director of the Willamette AIDS Council in Eugene, Oregon. In 1991 he and his late-husband Marc moved to Portland where he served as the inaugural executive director of the Portland EMA Ryan White Planning Council. After serving as Marc’s primary care-giver, he retired in 2009, returning to the workforce in 2017 at Cascade AIDS Project. There he designed a program of support for older adults living with and affected by HIV, and in 2018 wrote a successful grant to implement the program he now leads, known as Aging Well.

Craig Kolins

Aging Well Program assistant

Craig is a survivor affected by HIV, with many personal and professional relationships involving people living with HIV going back decades. An early volunteer with Cascade AIDS Project in the 1980s, he now—30 years later—works to support the well-being of aging adults in the HIV community. His position is called program assistant, but he actually does a bit of everything. A retired community college administrator, Craig has been married to his husband Kelly since 2006. Craig & Kelly enjoy traveling internationally to learn about higher education systems and culture. He values collaboration, community advocacy and continues to lean in to understand how white centeredness, fragility and privilege impacts US culture, social isolation and the human need for belonging and intergenerational connection.

To every long-term survivor, we say: You are not alone. You are welcome here. Your presence will make a difference.

Our story

In the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, few believed that people living with HIV would still be alive 10 years later, much less 35. The release of antiretroviral drugs in the mid-‘90s gave our community new hope, but even then most people didn’t give much thought to issues around HIV and aging.

Today, the number of aging adults living with or affected by HIV is substantial. More than half of the people living with HIV in the U.S. are over the age of 50, and estimates say that by 2030 the ratio will be closer to 70%.

Although we overcame the odds, many of us still carry scars from the struggle. Our community was decimated, our social networks torn apart. We lost partners, friends, and family. We were shunned and stigmatized. A 2018 study found that nearly three in four aging adults with HIV show some symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress.

Those of us who are HIV-negative also experienced trauma. We lost partners, friends, and family and today face our own hardships, including survivor’s guilt, depression, and loneliness.

But we’ve also demonstrated a remarkable perseverance and resilience. We discovered strength when it was most needed, and found support in the most unlikely places. Today we are seeing ways to move ahead and create the best possible life.

Our journeys vary, but many of us have found how to replace sorrows with joy, difficulties with determination, and turn our life experiences into sources of strength.

We all have a unique story—and each of our stories matters.

Aging Well exists to help aging adults who relate to these experiences—living with or affected by HIV—repair their social networks, build new ones, and create futures we never dreamed of.  We don’t “fix” members. We are a community that faces the challenges of aging with HIV together. We listen, we support, we accept, and we love.

To every long-term survivor, we say: You are not alone. You are welcome here. Your presence will make a difference.

Aging Well is a program of Cascade AIDS Project (CAP). We support and empower all people living with or affected by HIV, reduce stigma, and provide the LGBTQ+ community and beyond with compassionate healthcare. Visit us at capnw.org.

Follow us online: @agingwellnw