Thanks to modern treatments, people are living longer with HIV than they used to. Consider Rae Lewis-Thornton, who at age 59 is one of the 379,000 Americans over 55 living with HIV. "I never thought I would live this long. I never considered what this period would look like," she told HealthyWomen.
In our new education program, we explore HIV and aging, including the health challenges people with HIV face as they get older. Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey explained, "If you get older and have HIV, it puts you at increased risk for heart disease — COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in particular — lung disease, bone loss, osteoporosis and certain cancers." In our recent Real Women, Real Stories, read how Stephanie Brooks Wiggins became the unlikely face of HIV in her community, but felt liberated and empowered in her church group and larger community.
Living longer with HIV also means many face hurdles when it comes to getting treatment, stigma around the condition and the high cost of treatment. Reducing these barriers to care can make HIV/AIDS a chronic condition rather than a death sentence.
In our story, "It May Come as a Surprise, but Older Women Get HIV, Too," we explore the challenges patients with HIV/AIDS face and how one woman overcame them to get the care she needed. "I know you're going to feel like it's the end of the world, but it's not," Tracey Kelly said. "Live your life, take the meds, grab the bull by the horns."
This resource was created with support from BD, Gilead, Janssen and Merck.
HIV & Aging Education Program
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks your immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Globally, half of all adults living with HIV are women, and women represent a higher number of newly diagnosed cases. In 2018, 51% of people in the United States with HIV were 50 and older – and that number continues to grow. People aged 50 years and older are more likely to have late-stage HIV infection at time of diagnosis therefore early diagnosis and prompt treatment is crucial. For more information, be sure to contact your healthcare provider and visit the links provided below.
- Your Words Can Make a Difference in the Fight Against HIV Stigma
- HIV, Aging and Whole Person Care
- How HIV Affects Menopause and Menopause Affects HIV
- PrEP and PEP: Prevention for HIV
- Clinically Speaking: Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About Your HIV Treatment
- Why Isn’t HIV Care Reaching Those Who Need It Most?
- Graphic Article: When Grandma Has HIV
- It May Come as a Surprise, but Older Women Get HIV, Too
- HIV and Older Women
- The Connection Between HIV and Mental Health in the Older Adult
- Growing Older with HIV
- I Believe I Am Aging Faster Because I Have HIV
- Keeping my HIV Diagnosis a Secret for a Year Taught Me a Lot About People’s Stereotypes
- From Shame to Advocacy: My Decades-Long Journey Living– and Thriving with HIV
- Ask the Expert: HIV and Aging Video
- Webinar: Assessing Current Knowledge Related to HIV, Aging and Women’s Health
- En qué forma el VIH afecta la menopausia y viceversa
- PPrE y PEP: Prevención para el VIH
- Conversación sobre la salud: Preguntas para tu proveedor de servicios médicos sobre tu tratamiento del VIH
- Envejecer con VIH
- ¿Por qué los servicios médicos para el VIH no están llegando a las personas que más los necesitan?
- Esto podría sorprenderle, pero mujeres de mayor edad también pueden contraer el VIH
- CDC HIV Basics
- HIV and Older Americans
- Aging with HIV
- American Psychological Association: HIV and Aging
- HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness
- NIH HIV and AIDS Clinical Trials Information
- NIH Clinical Research Trials and You: The Basics Fact Sheet
- NIH HIV/AIDS Clinical Trial Networks
- International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC): Participating in a Clinical Trial
- Aging with HIV Requires Whole Person Care - HealthyWomen ›
- HIV and Older Women - HealthyWomen ›
- Lucha contra el estigma del VIH: Tus palabras pueden marcar la diferencia - HealthyWomen ›
- Fight Against HIV Stigma — Your Words Can Make a Difference - HealthyWomen ›
- Medications That Treat and Prevent HIV - HealthyWomen ›
- Medicamentos para el tratamiento y la prevención del VIH - HealthyWomen ›
- Growing Older with HIV - HealthyWomen ›
- The Connection Between HIV and Mental Health in the Older Adult - HealthyWomen ›
- How HIV Affects Menopause and Menopause Affects HIV - HealthyWomen ›
- Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About HIV Treatment - HealthyWomen ›