In Canada, an increasing number of older people are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). But according to a Toronto-based charity, the current healthcare system is ill-equipped to meet the growing number of older Canadians who are HIV-positive.
Toronto-based HIV/AIDS advocacy charity Realize says long-term care and medical facilities across Canada are ill-equipped to treat older patients with HIV, who are more likely to experience chronic illness. increase.
“They are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions that must be managed in addition to HIV,” Realize national program manager Kate Murzin said Wednesday. He told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview. “They are now going through the overlap of HIV and aging, which is causing a lot of complications for both their health and their physical health, but other social factors, It’s also complicated in terms of, for example, the financial stability of older people.”
HIV is a blood-borne pathogen of sexually transmitted disease. who (WHO) states that HIV is an infectious disease that attacks the body’s immune system., especially white blood cells. If the virus succeeds in destroying these cells, the person’s immune system is weakened. This can lead to the colonization of other serious infections such as tuberculosis, mouth cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, and fungal infections.
People living with HIV are at increased risk of physical, mobility and cognitive impairment, Murzin said. These challenges affect their quality of life, and without support and proper care, the mental and physical health of people living with HIV can deteriorate as a result, Murzin said.
In an email sent Wednesday, Ken Miller, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society, told CTVNews.ca that there is “fear” among people dealing with HIV and the type of care they receive. .
“Generally speaking, medical staff are not adequately trained in the complexities of caring for people living with HIV, and support workers are usually even less trained,” said Miller.
In 1997, Canada rolled out antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV, helping people live with the virus. Previous study published in 2015 Canadians receiving ART have been shown to have extended life expectancy to 65 years. This is his 16 year increase from 2000 to her.
Because more people with HIV live into adulthood, care for people aging with HIV is usually not the focus throughout training, Miller said.
HIV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse and sharing needles and syringes. In advanced stages, HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which severely damages the immune system. Since the 1980s, HIV/AIDS has been called an epidemic.According to UNAIDS, millions of people around the world die from AIDS-related illnesses.
According to Statistics Canada, An estimated 62,050 people were living with HIV in 2018. In 2020, 1,639 newly diagnosed casesdown 21% from 2019, When 2,122 new cases were reported.
As people living with HIV live longer, the infection may continue to be contagious. Murzin says he can limit HIV transmission by streamlining both HIV treatment and aging in one place.
“People now often get their HIV care from their family doctor, or most commonly an infectious disease specialist,” she said. “But infectious disease specialists are neither trained nor prepared to deal with all the chronic diseases that people face as they age.”
Murzin says educating workers about the complex issues that people with HIV face as they age can alleviate other problems.
“Prior to 1996, treatment options for HIV were so limited that a single diagnosis was not possible. [when]…basically told me to sort things out because I couldn’t live longer than six months or one year was very traumatic,” she said.
Miller said that not only did people with HIV need to worry about their health, but disclosing their status to others was usually full of judgment.
“Stigma continues to be one of the biggest drivers of HIV transmission,” said Miller. “When someone is worried about a positive outcome, it can deter them from reaching out. This is one of the factors that creates new results. [HIV testing] Initiative becomes more important. “
Other organizations from around the world are coming together to make it happen. Create 10 calls to action To improve the quality of life of older people living with HIV. With 1 December being World AIDS Day, the organizations say they aim to raise awareness of the challenges of people living with HIV and the emotions and complexities of aging.
Some key points include low-barrier access to care, healthy living conditions, targeted research and empowerment, participation at the decision-making table, combating ageism, and improving sexual health holistically. include being considered part of general health.
“The quality of life is much better than it has ever been, but it can always be better,” Miller said in an email. We start by providing at least the basics for every individual who wants to: dental, physical, psychosocial, and housing support.”