At least one third of people living with HIV in Canada have now reached or surpassed the age of 50. This aging cohort includes both people living long-term with HIV who were diagnosed in the 1980s and 1990s, before effective treatment was available, as well as older adults who have been newly diagnosed in recent years.
Why focus on people living with HIV who are 50 years old or older?
- Across the life course, people living with HIV tend to experience a higher burden of disease. (Kendall et al., 2014)
- The immune systems of people living with HIV who are age 50 or older do not respond as robustly to treatment. (Viard et al., 2001) HIV is also more likely to be detected later in this population leading to more damage to the immune system. (Smith, Delpech, Brown & Rice, 2010)
- Older adults (50+) have historically been excluded from research studies on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and are therefore more vulnerable to infection and adverse health outcomes related to medication. (Ross Johnson, 2014)
- It is prudent to prevent additional chronic illness from developing among people aging with HIV rather than to wait until health declines or function is irreversibly impaired. (OAR Working Group on HIV and Aging, 2012)
- It may be important to consider the impact of aging even earlier among people who are living with HIV and facing a number of other health and social challenges. (DeLorenze, Weisner, Tsai, Satre & Quesenberry, 2011)
For more information on realize‘s HIV and aging initiatives, contact Kate Murzin, Health Programs Specialist at email@example.com