Because more than half of people living with HIV/AIDS in the US are aged 50 and up, HIV has become an aging issue. Medical advancements over the last two and a half decades have allowed HIV-positive people the ability to live longer and healthier lives. That said, longevity is still a relatively new concept largely unexamined where survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are concerned.
Grantmakers in Aging CEO John Feather, Ph.D., said in a statement, “people living with HIV age into a sort of no man’s land that can be a lonely and potentially dangerous place. Aging services and HIV services deliver excellent care but have no history of working together, and people aging with HIV can get lost. The need for greater coordination, expertise sharing, and inclusion has been strongly affirmed by leaders in both sectors, and, importantly, by people who are themselves aging with HIV/AIDS.”
In addition to the social complexities and challenges older people with HIV contend with — such as low awareness of the issue and stigma and social isolation — Moving Ahead Together will also examine the need for more well-rounded medical, mental, and behavioral health care inclusive of social and psychosocial support.
Among the many concerns to be addressed, they will examine reducing trauma, stigma and fear of rejection in care settings and advocating for long-term care cultures that are welcoming and inclusive. And where the aging process is specifically concerned, assisting specialists in understanding the effect of HIV on older people. The group will also advocate for updated state and federal policies, such as eligibility for aging services in the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) plan.
In a statement, Moving Ahead Together states that the framework they have devised will also examine “outdated assumptions about HIV, social justice issues such as racial disparities in prevalence and access to care, and parallels between the AIDS epidemic and COVID-19.” Their approach involves people living with HIV on how to confront issues that will directly impact them.
We’re a national advocacy and services organization that’s been looking out for LGBTQ+ elders since 1978. We build welcoming communities and keep our issues in the national conversation to ensure a fulfilling future for all LGBTQ+ people.