HIV/AIDS and Older Adults: Challenges for Individuals, Families, and Communities

HIV/AIDS and Older Adults: Challenges for Individuals, Families, and Communities

HIV/AIDS and Older Adults: Challenges for Individuals, Families, and Communities

HIV/AIDS and Older Adults: Challenges for Individuals, Families, and Communities

Synopsis

There are many ways in which HIV/AIDS can affect older adults. The chapters focus on the variety of HIV/AIDS problems faced at the individual, family, and community levels. Topics examined include demographics and epidemiological aspects of HIV disease with this population, prevention of HIV disease, issues impacting individuals in a medical, psychological, and social context, and service needs. Originally explored in a special issue of the Journal of Mental Health and Aging, this volume contains new chapters on demographics, HIV prevention and education, and effective coalition building among systems of care.

Excerpt

This book consists of a number of recent papers covering the topic of HIV/AIDS and its impact on persons 50 years of age and older. The variety of topics covered in this volume gives credence to the diversity of issues associated with older adults in relation to HIV disease. The book, an outgrowth of a recent special issue of the Journal of Mental Health and Aging (Emlet & Vallée, 2002), contains those papers originally published in that issue in addition to several chapters which serve to expand the topic to include demographics and epidemiology, HIV prevention and education, and the emerging topic of effective coalition building across systems of care. The development of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in the 1990s changed the landscape for HIV care and treatment for persons of all ages. This once terminal illness has become a disease many consider now to be manageable, moving it into the realm of chronic disease. The topic of HIV/AIDS among older persons once included only those diagnosed after age 50. With increased life expectancy, however, two separate groups have emerged. As Mack and Ory (2003) recently pointed out, in addition to those who are becoming infected at or after age 50, we must acknowledge those individuals who became infected with HIV at earlier ages, and are aging with HIV disease. With this increase in longevity, at least for some, comes a renewed importance to examine how HIV impacts older persons.

The chapters that constitute this book are a testament to the variety of problems and issues that we must face at the individual, family, and community levels. Such challenges must be faced by those older adults infected with HIV, their families and loved ones, and the service providers who work in this arena. The chapter by Zablotsky and Kennedy provides us not only with a thorough examination of the demographics and epidemiological aspects of HIV disease associated with this population, but adds a historical context as to the development of literature on this topic. The chapter by Nichols asks us to remember the importance of prevention and education related to HIV for older adults. She reminds us that while HIV prevention is important . . .

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