It is really good news to know that people living with HIV are living longer. We have moved beyond the point of not knowing what the future would bring to a place where HIV+ people are going back to work, planning retirement and working towards addressing other illnesses associated with aging. Sometimes it’s hard to make the distinction between new illnesses that are the result of HIV, a response to medications, interactions or simply the aging process.
The number of people 50 years and older who are HIV+ in Canada is expected to increase by 20% over the next decade. We also know that the number of people testing positive who are over 50 is also on the rise in Canada. Taking a look at the demographics of those served by ACNS, a large number of individuals are 35-45 years old, along with a group who are over 50. We are currently evaluating programs and services that will best fit the needs of older PHAs as we move forward.
Like everyone else, aging brings illnesses that make treatment more complex for persons living with HIV. High blood pressure, diabetes or cancers compound the challenge of living with HIV. In some ways, this is similar to challenges faced by those living with other longstanding chronic conditions. There are many health conditions that are associated with both age and HIV. To learn more there is a great Webinar on the CATIE website. Follow this link. Another great resource is the Managing Your Health: A guide for people living with HIV developed by CATIE. It offers a great section on HIV & Aging as well as many other areas of interest. You can download the PDF below.
It’s a good idea to bring questions to your next doctor’s appointment to discuss planning for your future and to explore ways to reduce potential health risks. Feel free to give us a call and set up an appointment, in person or over the phone. We would be happy to discuss your concerns or ideas for future programming to answer needs. While ACNS does not provide medical advice, we can help you make sense of the information and/or help you prepare questions for your next medical appointment.
Webinar on HIV and Aging, from CATIE.
Information from the Canadian Working Group on HIV & Rehabilitation
HIV & AGING resource site, The Body
(HIV & AGING fact sheets developed by the Canadian AIDS Society
Pocket guide:for women aging gracefully with HIV, by the Positive Women’s Network