Growing older with HIV
Due to improvements in treatment, the very good news about growing older with HIV is that most people are responding well to their treatment and can now look forward to growing older. QPP has contact with a number of people who are now in their 60’s and 70’s, so you are not alone.
In fact, the lifespan of a person living with HIV now closely matches the life expectancy of people who do not have HIV.
The longer a person lives with HIV – like any chronic illness – there is a greater potential for the virus to impact upon wellbeing and quality-of-life. It can also bring about other conditions linked to ageing and HIV.
It is not well known the degree to which HIV can impact on ageing, nor how much it may be linked to the occurrence or exacerbation (worsening) of other health conditions as a result of HIV specifically. Some conditions that can occur at a higher prevalence and earlier age in someone living with HIV include bone health, mental cognition, cancers, and other body organ systems.
Adopting healthy lifestyles, such as quitting smoking, healthier eating, routine sleep and maintaining regular exercise goes a long way to improve or prevent other health conditions emerging.
Your doctor will also monitor your health in accordance with your risk factors, including age, and provide the relevant and appropriate additional treatment where needed. You are also encouraged to contact QPP if it would be helpful for an HIV community worker to assist you should your independence for living start to concern you.
There are a number of HIV ageing information resources available, and information is also available about aged-care support for PLHIV in need of this. A booklet resource about HIV and Ageing is available below: