HRSA Recognizes National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
On September 18, 2022, HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) will recognize National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. This observance focuses on the increasing number of people living long, full lives with HIV, and calls attention to the unique, health and social needs of older adults with HIV.
In the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), we have seen a rise in the number of clients who are aged 50 and older. In 2020, nearly 48% of all RWHAP clients were aged 50 and older, a large increase from 31.6% in 2010. Of RWHAP clients aged 50 years and older receiving HIV medical care, 92.9% were virally suppressed, which is higher than the national average of 89.4%.
We credit this notable viral suppression rate to the RWHAP’s “whole-person” approach to care. As people with HIV age, their health care and social needs change. Older adults with HIV often experience social isolation, loneliness, a lack of social support, and HIV- and age-related stigma, which can prevent them from seeking the care they need to stay healthy. In the RWHAP, we provide HIV care and treatment, as well as support services, such as housing assistance, transportation, meal delivery, and mental health and social support. This allows us to help our clients remain in care and on their medication, while also tending to their mental health, well-being, and quality of life.
To help providers optimize the services they offer, we have developed several resources:
- Addressing the Health Care and Social Support Needs of People Aging with HIV - Technical Expert Panel Summary – Includes considerations for providing HIV medical, psychosocial, and support services for people aging with HIV, as well as opportunities for improving health care services for people aging with HIV.
- Incorporating New Elements of Care and Putting Together the Best Health Care Team – Two reference guides on ways to enhance HIV care for people aging with HIV.
Additionally, HAB has partnered with the Administration for Community Living to foster safe and high-quality health care for the aging population. We have collaborated on several educational webinars focused on supporting people aging with HIV, including:
- Leveraging Collaboration between the RWHAP and Aging Agencies: Enhancing Support Services for Older Adults with HIV Exit Disclaimer
- Leveraging Federal Partnerships to Support and Enhance Networks for Older Adults Who are Aging with HIVExit Disclaimer
For additional trainings, tools, and resources on caring for older adults with HIV, we encourage providers to visit TargetHIV.orgExit Disclaimer and the RWHAP AIDS Education and Training Center Program’s National Coordinating Resource Center websiteExit Disclaimer.