Staying Alive is about long-term survivors and explains what ASS is. You should read it.
Here’s an excerpt:
Like Anderson, many AIDS survivors suffer emotional ailments akin to post-traumatic stress disorder or survivor’s guilt. Walt Odets, a Berkeley-based psychologist who has worked with hundreds of gay men who lived through the AIDS epidemic, is convinced that a mental health crisis is unfolding among long-term HIV survivors.
“There’s an inability to live with vitality, to live with richness, to get up in the morning and feel like you have a future, if only for the day,” he told us. “We’re losing a lot of vital lives over this.”
Anderson believes that many AIDS survivors have a definable psychological syndrome. Last January he decided to give it a name: AIDS Survivor Syndrome, or ASS for short (the acronym was intentional). He and two friends, Michael Siever and Matt Sharp, have since formed the group Let’s Kick ASS.
Aljazeera America recently covered ASS. Read it here:
Many of the survivors at the Let’s Kick ASS event, it seems, made a kind of existential decision to fight for their lives through the epidemic. The AIDS epidemic also had an impact apart from the damage it caused. Though it meant death and suffering, it also allowed those enduring its effects to band together — to challenge their doctors and health policymakers on the kind of health care, or lack thereof, they were receiving.