THE NEWEST WRINKLE
You’ve made it to 50, maybe older and
you’re HIV+. Now What?
treatment and good medical care has extended the lives of people with
HIV. By 2015 more than half the people with AIDS in the U.S. will be
over 50 years old. Many people have been living with HIV for 25 years or
more and the number of people over 50 who are newly diagnosed is
increasing. New, drugs get much of the credit but adherence, monitoring
and exercise and healthy eating are just as important.
many aging is a pleasant experience with more time for the things we
enjoy. At the same time there can be some difficulties. Remaining
healthy and active, living with less money, and getting needed help can
sometimes be difficult. Even so, life now can be a positive experience.
As with the general
population, age brings on new health problems. Heart disease, cancer,
bone disease, and kidney problems Often these conditions appear earlier
in people with HIV. This often leads to juggling medications. Each new
health condition offers the chance of drug-disease interactions and
drug-drug interactions. Routine medical care is essential. Monitoring
your general health is now just as important as keeping tabs on HIV. Be
sure to have an annual physical. Keep notes on your daily and monthly
complaints and take these with you to your doctor visits.
Not everyone is
affected the same way. “Someone might have HIV, heart disease, and
kidney disease but still be able to go out and play tennis every day.
And then someone who’s the same age and who has the exact same
conditions might be having a lot of trouble with activities of daily
living and might be in a nursing home.” explains Meredith Greene, MD
UCSF Division of Geriatrics.
are ways to remain as healthy as possible as you age with HIV.
Eating nutritious food
and being aware of what foods help or hinder any additional health
condition can promote a healthier life. HIV activist. Nelson
Vergel, a longtime HIV/AIDS activist has a video with some great
tips. It’s 20 minutes of time well spent.
isn’t just about feeling and looking good, it is beneficial for immune
function, heart, bone, and mental health. Walking and briskly climbing
stairs can be helpful in heart and lung functioning and keep your body
flexible. Yoga or stretching improves flexibility and muscle tone. Power
walking, jogging, running, cycling and swimming improve your heart and
lungs and strengthen your bones. Weight training increases muscle size,
endurance, bone strength and joint health. If you don’t have an
exercise routine you can start with walking. If you have questions about
your ability, talk to your doctor about a routine that is good for you.
Nearly everyone has
mental health challenges at some point in their lives. Finding support
can be helpful with everyday
depression and unease with growing older. Talking openly with friends
can help. So can volunteering. Find an organization that promotes
something you like and volunteer. But just when do you need to seek
professional mental health counseling? If you no longer enjoy activities
that usually make you happy, become withdrawn or isolated, fell sad, or
guilty, become extremely angry toward others, or feel you want to hurt
yourself or others it is time to find treatment. Check your insurance
for its mental health coverage. HIV+ people in San Diego can find free
help at The Center.
comprehensive guide produced by Justri.org. You can download the 124
page PDF here.
You’ll find information on ageing well and health conditions that
affect HIV and ageing as well as some terrific quotes and cartoons.