A new article highlights the differences between older and younger adults living with HIV, and offers age-specific strategies on how to provide care.
Older individuals differ from younger patients with HIV in many ways - for example, they tend to have an increased risk for late or missed diagnoses, differing side effects from antiretroviral therapies, and increased comorbidities. Only a few existing treatment guidelines make distinctions when it comes to care by age, however.
By examining findings from clinical research, investigators have now offered easy-to-follow approaches for providing care to older people living with HIV. "Our article recommends an overall strategy in which various tools are used to provide information on the likely course of HIV for an individual, which clinicians can then use to guide discussions on personalized, person-centered care," said Dr. Jonathan Appelbaum, co-author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society article. One tool that may be especially useful is the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Index, which can help distinguish between those who are aging well and those who may appear older than their chronological age.
"Our article highlights the need for more research on screening, evaluation, and treatment in older adults infected with HIV. As the number of older people living with HIV grows, we need scientifically sound data to help prepare our clinicians and healthcare systems for the unique needs and expectations of this group," said co-author Dr. Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn.
Article: Caring for Older Adults with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn MD, MPH, Jonathan S. Appelbaum MD, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doi: 10.1111/jgs.14584, published 29 September 2016.