In 2015, more than half of people with HIV in the U.S. will be aged 50 or older, according to Wayne McCormick, MD, MPH. “By 2025, the median age is projected to be 60 years old.”
The aging HIV population has been due in large part to the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART). “Unfortunately, ART has many side effects that need to be taken into account when managing patients with HIV,” says Dr. McCormick. “Even with successful ART, patients with HIV still have an inflammatory infection. As they live longer, questions are raised about how to manage the comorbidities that are associated with HIV as well as those associated with aging.”
A Helpful Initiative
To address the unique issues of aging patients with HIV, members of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, and American Geriatrics Society created and launched http://www.hiv-age.org. The website was designed by these trusted organizations to allow for ongoing discussion about clinical care and research around HIV and aging. It is also intended to provide ways to share new and emerging information in this area.
The HIV-Age website can help clinicians who seek best practices to care for older patients with HIV as well as interested patients, advocates, and researchers. “We wanted this information to be ‘live’ on the web so that it can be a living document that is changeable based on the ongoing conversations and emerging knowledge,” explains Dr. McCormick. “When research is published in hard copy, it can sometimes become fixed in time. Having a dedicated website allows us to quickly and easily update and correct information in real time.”
A Myriad of Features
Visitors of the HIV-Age website will find editorials, case studies, journal articles, clinical recommendations, and more, according to Dr. McCormick. “Topics include difficult cases and comorbid conditions, such as osteoporosis, hyperlipidemia, emphysema, lymphoma, and coronary artery disease,” he says. “The website also addresses the concept of multi-morbidity, which many HIV clinicians are noticing in their older patients.”
Dr. McCormick also notes that blogs are available on the website to educate people with shared information and interactions. “We want to encourage patients and clinicians to participate and learn together about new and emerging conditions that affect older individuals with HIV,” he says. “As we pay closer attention to these issues and learn from each other, we’ll be able to improve how we address the aging HIV population over the next decade.”
American Academy of HIV Medicine, ACRIA, and American Geriatrics Society. HIV & Aging. Available at http://hiv-age.org.
The HIV and Aging Consensus Project. Recommended treatment strategies for clinicians managing older patients with HIV. Available at http://aahivm.org/Upload_Module/upload/HIV%20and%20Aging/Aging%20report%20working%20document%20FINAL%2012.1.pdf.
New York State Department of Health. HIV in older adults: a quick reference guide for HIV primary care clinicians. Available at http://www.hivguidelines.org/clinical-guidelines/hiv-and-aging/hiv-in-older-adults-a-quick-reference-guide-for-hiv-primary-care-clinicians/.
Baranoski A, et al. Patient and provider perspectives on cellular phone-based technology to improve HIV treatment adherence. AIDS Care. 2014; 26:26-32.