When the medical community and general public first became aware of AIDS in 1981, it would have seemed a far-fetched fantasy that people diagnosed with the disease would have survived 1, 5, or 10 years, nonetheless 30 years.
Now, with patients living longer with advances in medicine and technology, individuals with AIDS or HIV are facing a new challenge: aging. It is well known that AIDS accelerates the aging process. But also, more older adults, aged 50+, are being diagnosed with AIDS for the first time. According to the CDC more than 30 percent of all those with HIV are 50 years old or older, an increase from 26 percent in 2006. Moreover, the CDC predicts that by 2015, more than half of HIV-positive Americans will be over 50.
So, what does this mean for the aging community here in Central Texas? We must become prepared to care for older adults living with AIDS/HIV with the same compassion and dedication as we have with caring for older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s or other medical conditions.
Learn more about a man’s 26 year journey with HIV here: Aging with AIDS: More are living longer, living with loss
Learn more about the 30 year history of AIDS here: 30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS