Guide launched on supporting older people with HIV

The National Aids Trust has published a guide to help healthcare profesionals support older people who have HIV

Guidance for health and social care professionals on how to support older people who are living with HIV has been developed by the National Aids Trust (NAT).

In partnership with Skills for Care and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the trust has created the guide to provide information about HIV, including how it is transmitted, how to care for someone with the virus, infection control and medication.

It also covers the topic of confidentiality and rights, not only for the people being cared for, but also for those working in care who are HIV positive, and an explanation of how care workers will meet the different inspection criteria in the UK is given.

There are an increasing number of older people living with HIV.  According to the NAT, ten years ago one in eight people with the virus were over 50, but this has now increased to one in four.

The full impact of HIV on ageing is still unknown, as are the long-term side effects of medication.  Many people with HIV face stigma and discrimination, which is often experienced within a healthcare setting.  This can be further compounded by racism or homophobic attitudes, as the communities most affected by HIV are gay men and black Africans.

The trust wants to ease HIV patients’ anxieties about what will happen as they age and require more care.

It warns that some parts of the care sector do not currently have the knowledge to care appropriately for people living with HIV, adding that it is not widely understood that there is no risk of HIV transmission from caring for someone with the virus.

NAT trustee and Care England chief executive, Martin Green, said HIV can mean people have more complex care needs.

‘Mental health issues and depression are more common among people living with HIV, as well as the likelihood of having another long-term condition,’ he said.  

‘This guide gives people all the information they need to be able to support and care for this small but growing group of people.’

To view the guide, click here.


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