Report Launch: HIV and ageing in the UK
APPG HIV/AIDS and Terrence Higgins Trust Panel Event
Committee Room 6, House of Commons
Over 70 experts from different sections of the HIV community, joined the Terrence Higgins Trust and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS (APPG on HIV & AIDS) in Westminster to explore the challenges facing those ageing with HIV from a health and social care perspective.
The event, chaired by Mike Freer MP, Chair of the APPG on HIV & AIDS, included the formal launch of THT’s new Unchartered territory report, which builds on the findings of THT’s 2010 report A National Study of Ageing and HIV (50 Plus) in recognition of the changes that have been brought about to HIV clinical and care support through the 2012 Health & Social Care Act.
Attendees noted that the story of people aged 50+ living with HIV was a divided one. 36% of those aged 50-60 were solely reliant on benefits compared to 9% of those aged over 65. Similarly, respondents over 65 were more than twice as likely to report their wellbeing as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The report also highlights however, that older people living with HIV are more likely to face social isolation, with 82% of those surveyed concerned about whether they would be able to access adequate social care in the future.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Mike Freer noted ‘many older people living with HIV are being left behind by the pace of change that we have seen in the treatment options available to people living with HIV. The report highlights that many people diagnosed before 1996 were told that they had only five years left to live and this has not only a huge emotional burden but has also meant that many older people living with HIV today have not got financial plans in place to fund future care needs.’
The report highlights a number of key areas where civil society, Government and healthcare professionals can work with older people living with HIV to ensure they are supported physically and emotionally. These include:
• HIV support services aimed at people living with HIV aged 50 and over should carefully consider the diversity of needs of service users and consider tailoring different support packages to 50-60 year olds, 61-64 year olds and to individuals aged 65+
• RCGP should work with BHIVA, BASHH, HIV charities and people living with HIV to provide training and support to current GPs to increase their understanding of HIV and its interaction with ageing
• Social care providers should ensure continued professional development for staff around HIV, using key awareness days such as World AIDS Day and utilising local and national HIV organisations to ensure all activities are based on up-to-date evidence.
Jonathan McShane, Chair of THT, concluded ‘we have seen a dramatic rise in the life expectancy of people living with HIV. As a result of these changes, we face uncharted territory on how older people living with HIV manage treatment, co-morbidities, social isolation and financial pressures. We must ensure that the ageing and retirements that many people living with HIV were told they would never have are happy, healthy and financially stable.’
A link to the full report can be found here ( http://www.tht.org.uk/get-involved/Campaign/Our-campaigns/Ensure-older-p... ) .