This morning (on Sunday, June 12, 2022) I decided to view and listen to all four videos of the #CitylineReal on Pride playlist. The first video sparked a thought about diet/nutrition/lifestyle and seniors with HIV. So, I put it in my browser, and the HIV.gov website came up. I read the information about it; then, I clicked on the link Aging with HIV.
While people are now living with HIV for a longer time span due to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), 50 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV are 50 years of age and over. In 2018, over half (51%) of people in the US and dependent areas with diagnosed HIV were age 50 and over, and they accounted for 17% of the 37,968 NEW HIV diagnoses in 2018. Also, while new diagnoses were declining among this group, about 1 in 6 HIV diagnoses in 2018 were among this group. (Source: HIV.gov; May 2021).
As I read this, I wondered: How many are women? How many are heterosexual or LGBTQ+? (Interestingly, the HIV.gov article/report suggests that there is a high risk factor for both groups in the 50 and over age range). What is the race break down of this group? (The HIV.gov picture above seems to make a suggestion of the race who is most affected among this group). I summarize that ALL mature women who are 50 and over continue to be at a high risk for positive HIV diagnosis; yet, they can be relieved that there is treatment for them to live longer.
Another concern that stands out in the article is while there is treatment that decreases the likelihood of AIDS-defining illnesses among people aging with HIV, this population suffer more frequently with non-AIDS related illnesses, e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, and cancer, which is likely related to a number of factors, including chronic inflammation caused by HIV, an illness that occurs even with treatment with ART. More research is ongoing about it. This is why I believe diet/nutrition is a key factor in HIV therapy. More specifically, a plant-based diet and natural living lifestyle. Because the illnesses listed above are considered preventable diseases.
An alarming concern is how that HIV and its treatment are contributing factors to effects on the brain, specifically HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND), that have three levels: Asymptomatic, mild, and HIV-associated dementia. So, while people are living longer with treatment, there are high risks side effects. According to research there is a high percentage, 25 to 50%, of people with HIV having HAND. Research is ongoing in this area.
Interestingly, June 5th is HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day to recognize survivors and the need to continue addressing mental and physical challenges that they experience. This suggests that while treatment has come a long way, there are still side effects, and research in relative areas are ongoing. HIV is still a high risk disease. Thus, it is important for people age 50 and over to have a strong support system, which is a strong component for longevity. P
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Pink & Prime advocates for a more inclusive treatment for women age 50 & over, who are living with HIV. Pink & Prime believes that women in HIV treatment still have the ability for empowerment and make choices and changes. Pink & Prime encourages women practitioners and their patients to embrace a woman-focused health approach and holistic approach to compliment a mainstream approach.
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