As the International AIDS Conference winds down, the culmination of the event anticipates that one message is clear: Ageing with HIV is an urgent matter that requires a lot of attention.

As one man put it, “I fear that if I need to be cared for, the carer would be as ill-informed and prejudiced about HIV as the general public.”

A number of integral sessions were conducted with regards to HIV and ageing. Andrea Beal of Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) in Canada presented “One Day an Army of Grey-Haired Women may Quietly Take over the Earth”.

Global experts from around the world served on a panel on “HIV and Aging: The Challenge of the Epidemic’s Fourth Decade” covering topics such as ageism, stigma, prevention and the critical role of caregivers.

Judith Currier presented on the “Intersection of non-communicable diseases and Ageing in HIV” discussing a global action plan.

Here is what we learned from the AIDS2012 conference:

  •  It is expected that 50% of all persons with HIV in developed nations will be age 50 or older as early as 2015
  • Increased life expectancy for treated HIV now approaches survival rates similar to the general population.
  •  Older people with HIV have twice as many age-related health conditions as their HIV negative peers
  •  Discrimination, ignorance and poor clinical treatment continues to ensue about AIDS illness
  • Many health systems are not ready to cope with the influx of ageing HIV-positive people requiring medication and care
  • Older adults accounted for 15% of new cases of HIV in the US
  •  HIV positive people are at a greater risk for illnesses common in old age
AIDS awareness in Chimoio

AIDS awareness ad in Chimoio, Mozambique [Credit: Ton Rulkens, Flickr]

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