Ageing of HIV+ people was called a social care timebomb

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The breaking report released today by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, looked at issues facing over-50s living with HIV, the number of which grows rapidly, especially in countries with high HIV rates like UK. Over a half of them are suffering from poverty, the proportion is approximately twice higher than among people who have no HIV. 82% of HIV+ people over 50 suffer from loneliness. One in three people seen for HIV care in 2015 were aged 50 and over, compared to one in five in 2011. New diagnoses among older people have nearly doubled in the last decade.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Advances in HIV treatment mean that people with HIV are living longer and we are now seeing the first generation of people growing old living with HIV. This is good news – but it also means we’re entering uncharted territory. Many of these individuals were diagnosed when HIV was considered fatal and never expected to live beyond a couple of years – as a result, they’re less likely to have savings or pensions, and many have become socially isolated. And since then thousands more have been diagnosed with the highly stigmatised condition. These statistics should be a wake-up call to governments. People aged 50 and over are now the fastest growing group of people living with HIV, and new diagnoses in older people continue to rise. The issues they face can no longer be ignored, as the challenges of poverty, loneliness and social care grow more acute. As it stands, our welfare, health and social care systems are simply not ready for this and we could see a timebomb in the years to come. We must ensure our GPs, our care homes and our communities are ready to support people with HIV to live well in later life, while facing the uncertainty of what lies ahead.”

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