Ageing with HIV: a growing challenge

Jacqui Stevenson
PhD Student, University of Greenwich, and Programmes and Advocacy, ATHENA Network

In the initial period of the HIV response, ageing with HIV was not a priority issue – in the absence of treatment, few people living with HIV could expect to reach an older age, and older people were not recognised as at risk of acquiring HIV. Since effective antiretroviral treatment has become available, this picture has changed, and HIV has become a long-term condition manageable with treatment [1]. People living with HIV in the UK and accessing treatment now have a normal life expectancy [2]. Globally, too, as more people living with HIV are able to access treatment, life expectancy is growing, and the numbers of older people living with HIV are increasing.
The challenges of negotiating older age with HIV are under-researched, as the phenomenon has only relatively recently attracted the attention of clinical and social scientific researchers. The social, clinical and other needs of both people living with HIV reaching older age, and older people acquiring and being diagnosed with HIV, are therefore not fully understood. They are also often under-prioritised, particularly as increasing attention and resources are focused on adolescents and young people in HIV prevention and other programmes. Read more. . .