Helping People with HIV Navigate their Golden Years
People with HIV are living longer, healthier lives in the era of antiretroviral treatment. In San Francisco, over 60% of all people living with HIV are age 50 and older. Despite these successes, aging with HIV or being diagnosed with HIV later in life can bring new challenges. HIV can increase the risk of conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis (thin bones), memory problems and cancer. These and other aging related conditions may occur in HIV-positive adults at younger ages than HIV-negative adults. Older adults with HIV often face mental health issues like depression and some may feel isolated from losing friends in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Entering the Golden Years can at times feel overwhelming.
As a result, beginning in January 2017, Ward 86 launched the Golden Compass program. The program will focus on 4 “points”(related to compass directions) that will serve both the medical and psychosocial needs of people over 50 living with HIV. The program will provide multidisciplinary medical care on-site along with other comprehensive services some of which are outlined below.
NORTH — Heart and Mind: A cardiologist with expertise in HIV will join Ward 86; Memory concerns will be evaluated; a class to learn about brain and memory with some practical tips starts in February.
EAST — Bones and Strength: Exercise classes for PLWH Age 50 or older are offered; focus on preventing falls and supporting bone health.
WEST — Dental, Hearing and Vision: Ward 86 will help link people to the appropriate screenings and services.
SOUTH — Network and Navigation: A monthly support group will provide an opportunity to come together and share experiences.
For more information or to contribute to this initiative, contact Meredith Greene, MD at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 206-2473.