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'Desert Migration' Documents Aging with HIV: VIDEO

Desert Migration

Director Daniel Cardone is embarking on a project to document the lives of people who survived the AIDS crisis and are now living as older men with HIV, titled Desert Migration in reference to the many, many men who chose to move to Palm Springs, CA for retirement. From the project's indiegogo page:

When HIV treatments improved and people stopped dying by the thousands, many HIV positive men took stock and thought, " what?”  Death was not an immediate concern, but their health was still fragile and their lives had been permanently knocked off course [...] The fastest growing demographic of people living with HIV/AIDS in the US are those over 50 years of age.  They weren’t expected to live, let alone thrive.  Importantly, the effect on their bodies by the medications keeping them alive was never adequately tested.  After twenty years, what is worse – the medications or the HIV?

You can see Desert Migration's trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I grew up in SF and known a lot of people who have died of AIDs. I also know a lot of older gay guys and will ask how they avoided getting it. Most say they were in committed relationships and others say just sheer luck. I've always been cautious knowing I have another 60-70 years of sex ahead and hope you are too. Where is that promised vaccine?

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 14, 2013 11:21:38 AM

  2. interesting - seems like a great document of history. although, I'm sure I will find bits of it depressing. I don't like palm springs myself, that whole area just seems a bit sketchy to a very weird vibe.

    Posted by: steve | Dec 14, 2013 12:12:18 PM

  3. i am 59. living with HIV since 1987. lived in palm springs 14 years. i could not have told this story any better. "I have another day. I'm here. What am i going to do with it?" Exactly.

    Posted by: deedrdo | Dec 14, 2013 12:27:55 PM

  4. I came out in 1973 and watched most of my close friends and roommates get sick and die between 1981 and 2003. I have a list of 41 friends, close acquaintances and lovers that have passed into the other room as a result of this virus. And I know many people with a loss far greater. Enormous grief.
    Of course, during the first years of the pandemic every bruise becomes Kaposi's sarcoma, every cold/flu becomes pneumocystis pneumonia and you wait until you receive the news that you are HIV positive. In my case.... that never happened. Us "survivors' often wonder why we are still here. For those who never really get over that experience.
    I enjoyed this short film and also appreciate Palm Springs. There is a lot of optimism, acceptance and recovery in that special place.

    Posted by: excy | Dec 14, 2013 12:30:17 PM

  5. @MikeRyan: I'm in my 50's & have been having safe-sex virtually my entire life. Don't count on a vaccine. Sex is messy business & part of life. Those that have managed to be free of HIV are lucky & consistently practice safer sex... period. No guy, no matter how hot is worth the risk.
    @Steve: I also happen to now live in Palm Springs. It's a welcoming, spiritual, very special place. Like anywhere you visit, you bring yourself with you. Maybe you should give it another chance.
    I hope this film does well.

    Posted by: petensfo | Dec 14, 2013 12:30:44 PM

  6. I am almost 50 and tested recently HIV neg.
    I was thankful and was asked by the doctor how do you remain negative with so many partners? I said I refrain from anal, enjoy all the other great parts of passion and touch and that is really good enough for me until I do find a partner. I have friends that are HIV+ and even a former partner. Even being with poz men has taught me by refraining from anal, I can personally say that this has kept me negative and my partner count has been in the hundreds. Glad there is an oasis for poz men to make a community. There should be more. Life has many challenges and hiv and meds would be quite a burden to carry. Maybe the comment above is right. Lucky? I don't know but it must be harder to catch than one thinks. Just my 2 rolling nickels of thought. Look forward to seeing this.

    Posted by: Matteo | Dec 14, 2013 12:57:12 PM

  7. Obviously it's a horrific virus.

    But also not that hard to avoid getting. I'm not casting aspersions. Just saying that after the late 1980s, it was pretty obvious what you should and shouldn't do to avoid it. I've done a ton of really, really stupid things in my life and have had a lot of positive friends. Maybe I'm also lucky or just don't care about sex enough.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 14, 2013 1:36:11 PM

  8. Good question, but I have a couple of friends who have survived into their 50's and are still going strong because of the medications. There is also a problem for those who survived the initial trauma of the epidemic, who lost too many friends, who might be HIV- but are facing their later years adrift because they've not been able to replace those friendships that were lost due to AIDS. It's just a sad situation all around but at least the medications have saved and prolonged lives. That is a good thing, I think. I also believe that there were more of us from that time that did not contract HIV, that even then were careful about our sexual practises and who continue to be careful. I have a younger friend, who is 26 and he just tested positive for HIV! He gets much love and support from me and others, but I do inquire of the generation or two behind me: if you know the consequences of unsafe sex, why do you engage in unsafe sex?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 14, 2013 2:08:36 PM

  9. I am a 48yo gay man who has lived in NYC my entire life. Like a good portion of us, we did dumb, risky things in our youth we knew we shouldn't do in order to say negative. I am still negative to this day. I consider myself lucky. As the above poster Matteo said, staying away from anal intercourse, topping or bottoming, I feel has kept me negative for the most part, for the better part of 15 years. Of course performing oral and allowing semen into your mouth/throat is always a risk. But a small one. I still enjoy a very happy sex life, but I am always aware that this disease is always over my shoulder. I have lost so many friends over the years I have lost count. As we all have.

    Posted by: greg | Dec 14, 2013 2:51:56 PM

  10. Had to break out the old Sylvester records and deplete a good box of tissues AGAIN after seeing that film clip but they say crying is good for the soul...just how does one move to Palm Springs from the east coast??

    Posted by: Troy | Dec 14, 2013 3:50:04 PM

  11. Pretty much what EXCY said. I always thought I'd end up in Palm it there. I look forward to this film.

    Posted by: Rocco | Dec 14, 2013 4:19:04 PM

  12. After 20 years, what is worse is the abandonment of simple prevention measures: namely condoms. Most porn companies prove their players are disposable by producing porn without condoms, only a couple are reliable in demanding them.
    Eight years of Bush's "abstinence only" left us with a generation who are uninformed and blissfully stupid. What convinced many in my generation (I'm 50) to protect themselves: the death of our friends and others. Right now there's no visible threat and every HIV medication ad features a shirtless bodybuilder with a concerned look on his face.

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 14, 2013 5:22:43 PM

  13. People are still getting infected. However, the cut-off for the epidemic was those who became sexually active teenagers around 1975, or put another way, those born before 1960. Those who came later were warned off in sufficient numbers and later on were the first to benefit from the anti-virals.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2013 6:59:03 PM

  14. We continue to progress in many areas, but some seem to be regressing. Sometimes technology isn't the solution but nature is.

    Posted by: Enucia Natural Soap | Dec 21, 2013 11:41:07 PM

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