International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Call for Assistance for Elderly People Affected by HIV/AIDS
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in preparation for the World Assembly on Aging, which begins today in Spain, on Thursday issued a statement calling the elderly the "forgotten victims" of HIV/AIDS and urging increased assistance for elderly people living with the disease and those caring for family members affected by the disease, BBC News reports (BBC News, 4/5). In the statement, the IFRC notes that HIV/AIDS is not only affecting the health of elderly people but is also placing them in the "desperate position" of providing for children and often grandchildren infected with the virus or orphaned by the disease. More than five million grandparents in Africa alone are tasked with trying to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care and emotional support, among other things, to their orphaned grandchildren, according to the report. However, such care is difficult because "[m]any of these older people were already living in poor and difficult circumstances before they took over the care of the children," Jennifer Inger, the IFRC's social welfare expert, explained. The IFRC notes that the situation is "compounded by the stigma and subsequent isolation" associated with HIV/AIDS (IFRC statement, 4/4). The elderly are "urgently" in need of better psychological support and information on how to care for people with HIV/AIDS, according to the report (BBC News, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.