Women’s experiences of ageing with HIV in London

Jacqui Stevenson1, Peter Keogh2, John Smith1 and Elizabeth West1
1University of Greenwich, 2The Open University

Out of a total of 101,200 people living with HIV (PLWH) in the UK 31,600 (31%) are women [1]. The UK has an ageing population of PLWH, with over 34% of people accessing HIV care in 2015 aged ≥50 years [1]. In 2016, 8523 women aged ≥50 years were seen for HIV care in the UK, 24.5% of the total from that age cohort [2]. There has also been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with HIV in later life, with 17% of new diagnoses among people in this age group in 2015 [1].
Women negotiating an older age with HIV potentially may face social and medical challenges, associated with ageing generally, added to or amplified by HIV. These include social and economic issues, as well as those directly linked to health such as managing treatment, side effects and comorbidities. Older women living with HIV may experience social isolation and a lack of social, emotional or practical support [3]. The experience or expectation of stigma and discrimination may present barriers to seeking or benefiting from care and support [4]. Long-term diagnosed women may struggle to plan for and negotiate an older age they never expected to reach [5]. Recently diagnosed older women may also face challenges, as they negotiate older age with an unexpected HIV diagnosis. Read more…