Older HIV-Positive Adults Experience High Levels of Depression, Age-Related Medical Conditions, Study Says
HIV-positive people over age 50 living in the U.S. have high rates of depression and age-related medical conditions, according to a study that will be presented at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, USA Today reports. Stephen Karpiak, research director of the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, and colleagues asked 1,000 HIV-positive people over age 50 in New York City questions about their health status, sexual behavior, mental well-being and support networks. According to the survey, 67% of HIV-positive people identified themselves as heterosexual, 70% lived alone and 82% were unemployed. The study finds that HIV-positive adults over age 50 are 13 times as likely to experience high levels of depression as the general population of the city and that many people surveyed had medical conditions associated with age including arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and vision loss. In addition, the study finds that 35% of HIV-positive people over age 50 have revealed their status to their friends and that fewer than half have told their families, which is "possibly out of guilt or fear of rejection," according to Karpiak. The study indicates that the health care system is underserving HIV-positive seniors, Karpiak said, adding that the study is the "beginning of learning how to best sustain the health and quality of life for the aging HIV-infected population" (Brophy Marcus, USA Today, 7/30).
The XVI International AIDS Conference program is now available online.