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HIV and the Older Adult: Challenges in Prevention and Treatment

Susan L. Eldred, RN, BScN, MBA, PhD candidate, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.
Wendy A. Gifford, RN, PhD candidate, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.

HIV/AIDS is rapidly increasing among adults age 50 and older. However, limited research has been conducted to understand the issues associated with HIV/AIDS in advancing age. This paper describes issues related to the transmission and contraction of HIV/AIDS among older adults, their complex clinical picture, and management of antiretroviral therapy, as well as social considerations. Cognizance of polypharmacy and comorbidities common with advanced age as well as the double stigmatization of age and HIV/AIDS is essential. Further research is needed to better understand the interactions between HIV/AIDS and age, and to determine effective, safe treatments and appropriate highly active antiretroviral therapy dosing in older adults.
Key words: HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, older adults, highly active antiretroviral therapy.