Preparing for the Aging HIV Epidemic

A new report from GMHC details the steps necessary to prepare our health care system for the increasing 50-and-older HIV-positive population.

Adults 50 and older represent nearly one third of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. By 2015, that age group will comprise half of all HIV-positive people nationwide. Between 2001 and 2007, the 50-and-older HIV-positive population increased by more than 61 percent, growing from 17 percent to 27 percent of the overall HIV-positive population.

These facts are published in a new report from the New York City–based AIDS service organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) titled Growing Older With the Epidemic: Aging and HIV.

The report spells out ways that social service programs and health care providers can prepare for this expanding segment of the HIV population. Recommendations are based on what is known about HIV and older adults as well as what isn’t yet understood. The report also suggests changes to federal and local policy that would better care for this population.

The advent of modern antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in the mid–’90s has allowed HIV-positive people to live well into their 50s and beyond. But aging with HIV presents numerous concerns regarding how the virus and aging interact. Such concerns include chronic inflammation in the body, faster aging, the unknown long-term effects of treatment, the comorbidities of aging, insufficient elder care and services, and the need for better trained caregivers and professionals for the over 50 population.

Click here to read the full report (PDF)


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