About SpA Awareness Month

At least 3.2 million Americans live with spondyloarthritis. SpA is not a rare disease. It’s just not well understood. SpA Awareness Month is an annual initiative to help raise awareness of the disease and draw a spotlight on decreasing the time to diagnosis and the unique needs of the SpA community.

Traditionally, April was designated as SpA Awareness Month and was first championed in 2009 by Michael Smith, an SAA lifetime member, tireless patient advocate, and creator of the beloved Spondyville website. Michael was hugely instrumental in SpA having its own month.

Last year, the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) began officially celebrating SpA Awareness Month in May. We made the shift for several important reasons. First, World AS Day occurs on the first Saturday of each May except if the Saturday is May 1st. This change helped to strengthen the connections between the awareness day and the awareness month. Second, as a member of ASIF (Axial Spondyloarthritis International Federation), our international partners focus their efforts on campaigns and initiatives around World AS Day and the month of May. By aligning our efforts with the rest of these international organizations, we have been able to provide a collaborative awareness of the disease that continues to be misunderstood and not well known.

Current COVID-19 Challenges

The current COVID-19 global health pandemic has presented some significant challenges across many communities. Beyond economic uncertainty, there may be feelings of anxiety, fear, loss of sleep, and increased stress. Developing coping skills to manage these feelings are important as they may impact your overhaul health, especially when living with a chronic illness.

Focus on Mental Health

During the month, SAA will continue to raise awareness around the theme of mental health while living with a chronic illness that our partners at ASIF pinned for World AS Day. Check back during the month of May for resources, tips and tools for improving your mood, thinking, and overall ability to maintain positive mental health during the current health crisis.

Please join us in helping everyone within this community know that they are not alone!

Help Raise Awareness