“Losing all these people was never far from her mind,” said her brother, who is her only immediate survivor. âAnd it was deeply connected with his personal life. He lost his lover, who was his soul mate.
The death of his partner stirred something in him.
âWhen he finally saw those who survived, he saw that they weren’t surviving well,â he added. âSo Stephen thought, ‘How can I do something about this? There was nothing he could do when it was going on in the 1980s, but then he got his chance. “
Dr Karpiak left Columbia University in the mid-1990s and moved to Phoenix to run a clinic for people living with HIV.
Dr Karpiak returned to New York in 1999 to lead the Senior Pride Network. One day at a health fair, he handed out a simple questionnaire that asked: If you are older and suddenly get sick, do you have someone to take care of you? After studying the answers, he began his research.
Dr. Karpiak joined the faculty of New York University College of Nurses in his sixties and then worked for GMHC (formerly Gay Men’s Health Crisis), where he founded his National Resource Center on HIV and Aging.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, Dr Karpiak worried about how older people living with HIV would be affected by the lockdown. Sequestered in his apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, he participated in web conferences with medical experts to discuss the subject. He always encouraged his research subjects to tune in, so that they could hear that someone was caring for them.
âThe Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that we are an ageist society,â Dr Karpiak said in 2020. âWe constantly hear misinformation:â This virus only affects the elderly â, so most people “don’t have it’s so.”
âI have heard many older people say, ‘The worst thing in the world is to feel abandoned,’ he continued. âIt is even more disturbing to hear from them: ‘There is something worse than AIDS, like loneliness. “”