HIV and AgingPeople living with HIV are not, however, immune to the myriad of age-related health conditions. This means health care providers must become evermore comprehensive in their care offerings. And this demand is only growing: in 2008, 44% of the Ryan White Program’s clients were 45-64 years of age (a 15% increase since 2002).
To assist our Program’s providers in caring for this population we have taken a number of steps:
- Added “older adults” as one of our population-specific fact sheets (PDF 601KB)
- Offered a training on HIV and aging at the Ryan White 2010 All Grantee Meeting
- Issued The Graying of HIV (PDF 295KB) HRSA CAREAction newsletter to look at emerging client needs and provider strategies
- Highlighted the story of Darlene—a 56-year-old HIV-positive patient—as part of our Living History support videos
- Our AIDS Education and Training Center launched an “Over 50” section to increase the depth of our training resources while our TARGET Center continues to add technical assistance materials specific to this population
New HIV DiagnosesWhile the aging of HIV patients represents a phenomenal milestone in treatment and a testament to the level of care coordination among our frontline providers, a new trend has also emerged in recent years: older people newly diagnosed. Some older people underestimate their risk for contracting HIV. We also know that late diagnoses at any age are associated with poorer health outcomes and more rapid disease progression. To increase prevention, testing, and early engagement efforts, we are collaborating with our federal partners as part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
In this way we can create the strongest safety net of all: one where we can reduce HIV infections as well as offer world-class, truly comprehensive wraparound services to those in need – including our aging population. As you plan to mark National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day and continue frontline service every day, I encourage you to reach out to HRSA and to the Ryan White Programs in your area to stay abreast of new resources and emerging trends.