HIV, AIDS, Old Age, The Elderly

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HIV, AIDS, Old Age, The Elderly
HIV, AIDS, Old Age, The Elderly

Video: HIV, AIDS, Old Age, The Elderly

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Video: Older Adults Living with HIV/AIDS 2023, January
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HIV in old age

There are more and more people with HIV infection who are 50 years of age or older. At the same time, however, more and more older people are being newly diagnosed with HIV. Many older people do not take safer sex seriously enough or know enough about precautionary measures. However, safe sex is also important in old age in order to avoid HIV infection!

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  • Late diagnoses in the elderly
  • Therapy more often associated with side effects
  • Healthy lifestyle supports the immune system

Late diagnoses in the elderly

As older people, like the doctors treating them, rarely think of an acquired immune deficiency when they have complaints, HIV infection in this age group is often only recognized at an advanced stage.

Older HIV patients often develop different clinical pictures than younger ones because HIV-specific clinical pictures and complications meet age-related diseases and natural signs of aging. Around 90 percent of older HIV patients also suffer from an accompanying illness.

The most common comorbidities in older people with HIV are:

  • Depression (52 percent),
  • Joint diseases (31 percent),
  • Liver disease (31 percent),
  • Neuropathies (30 percent),
  • High blood pressure (27 percent),
  • Skin diseases (18 percent) and
  • Herpes infections (15 percent).

Therapy more often associated with side effects

The effectiveness of antiretroviral therapies is the same in adults in all age groups. Older people are generally more adherent to therapy. However, there are more side effects that make a change in medication necessary. Other reasons for changes in drug therapy for HIV can include:

  • Drug interactions,
  • a possible presence of kidney or liver failure,
  • Changes in the blood count,
  • neuropsychological deficits (decrease in intellectual ability, change in motivation and emotional impairments due to damage to the brain function),
  • Polyneuropathy (damage to multiple peripheral nerves). It can manifest itself as tingling, burning and numbness, usually starting in the feet and lower legs.

Note Elderly people are generally more susceptible to infections due to the decreased performance of the immune system.

Healthy lifestyle supports the immune system

For older people with HIV infection, a healthy lifestyle and the avoidance of risk factors are important in order to avoid additional stress on the immune system.

Important for a healthy lifestyle are:

  • Stop smoking
  • healthy nutrition
  • regular exercise

The aim of the following measures is to reduce the risk of illness:

  • Setting of high blood pressure (for high blood pressure),
  • Treatment of osteoporosis,
  • Treatment of high levels of fat in the blood
  • Control of the waist circumference,
  • regular EKGs to monitor the heart.

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