Nelson Vergel (Lynn Lane)

We’re probably far enough along in the history of HIV/AIDS to tag various figures as, well, historic. Fitness expert Nelson Vergel qualifies for that category, having taken the lead from the earliest years of the epidemic to educate people living with HIV about fitness and nutrition.

Lucky for us, the long-term survivor is still very active in the HIV arena, and The Reunion Project will feature him in their upcoming virtual Town Hall event, “Moving Forward: Stories of Resilience,” this Tuesday, December 6th from 2:00 – 5:00pm ET. You can register for the free event right here.

Nelson has been a personal hero of mine for decades now. His groundbreaking book, Built to Survive, co-authored with Michael Mooney, became an instant reference guide for people living with HIV who wanted to stay healthy and armor their bodies against the potential ravages of HIV disease. Nelson’s own commitment to fitness – his bulging biceps became as much a part of his brand as his clear-sighted nutrition wisdom – has influenced and inspired generations of people living with HIV.

Nelson is also a generous, constant resource to people living with HIV, having established online communities to discuss HIV issues and even being a guest for my own video blogs on several occasions. By all means, treat yourself to the sight of Nelson raiding my refrigerator in a 2011 video to pronounce the items either healthy or not. His advice is informative and hilarious.

As if Nelson Vergel weren’t enough, The Reunion Project event includes another HIV community stalwart, Mark Misrok of the National Working Positive Coalition, who will be leading a discussion of employment and employment services as key factors in health equity and quality of life for long-term HIV survivors. I will be on hand to moderate and soak up all the great information and tips.

“The National Virtual Town Hall is an online, mini-version of our 2-day in person summits that we host around the country,” says executive director Jeff Berry. “These 3-hour webinars allow long-term survivors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend a chance to connect and share with others in a virtual gathering.”

Founded in 2015 by activists living with HIV, The Reunion Project (TRP) is the national alliance of long-term survivors of HIV, collaborating with local and national HIV advocates, providers and researchers. Together, The Reunion Project convenes and connects individuals and communities, sharing experiences of survival and loss while honoring the past, and developing successful strategies for living and supporting each other, today and into the future.

To register, visit bit.ly/MovingForward5

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