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Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee


Press Release People with HIV face even greater obstacles and challenges in later life

Report hails extraordinary success of HIV services but highlights need to adapt to an ageing population.

Estimates suggest that by 2015 half of all those with HIV in the UK will be over the age of 50 years ¹. In 2012 the number of people being treated for or accessing care for HIV in the UK aged over 50 was 24,510 out of a total of 77,610 ².

This presents enormous challenges not only to those with HIV as they grow older and develop the various co-morbidities they are likely to experience as they enter later life, but also to those who will be caring for them. Research points to the fact that the interaction between HIV and ageing presents highly complex clinical challenges and that the diseases and conditions of ageing present earlier or more severely in people who also have HIV ³.

2020health’s report out today “Growing older positively: the challenge of ageing with HIV” charts the incredible progress that has been made in treating people with HIV but calls for strategic planning of HIV services in the NHS to improve in light of the average age of patients now being older.

The report also highlights the need to educate the older population about sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and to encourage doctors to offer appropriate testing.

Report author Matt James said, “Following many years of medical research resulting in the development of effective treatment for HIV, the majority of people diagnosed in the UK can now anticipate a very good prognosis and long life expectancy.”

“Yet despite the tremendous advances in effective treatments for HIV, which have resulted in the disease being considered chronic rather than acute, older people with HIV remain at a disadvantage in comparison to their peers, particularly in terms of quality of life. From poor levels of health to access to social care and financial security, the older person living with HIV faces significant challenges. Having HIV raises your risk of all sorts of other diseases and it is important that older people are diagnosed and assumptions are not made about their sex lives.”

Anne Aslett, Exec Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation says in the foreword, “HIV has gone from a death sentence to a manageable chronic condition. From the outset, HIV has challenged doctors and patients to work together; has pushed public health to see prevention and care as two sides of the same coin and, given the unparalleled degree of stigma that still clings to HIV, has called for a ‘whole patient’ approach, particularly to social care, that keeps people strong enough in spirit to be well in body.

“Today, as is so clearly demonstrated by this timely report, HIV is again leading the challenge to health and social care to appropriately and collaboratively manage a range of chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, in an ageing population which will almost double by 2037 (ONS 2013).”

“(This report is ) a clear-eyed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different models for HIV service delivery is well framed against the complex and largely untried commissioning arrangements that have come in as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2013. These arrangements, and the pathways of care that flow from them, must be carefully monitored to determine their strengths and ensure they deliver real impact. Above all what is clear from this document is that people over 50 are newly contracting HIV in higher numbers.”

Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health said, “Strategic leadership is required, charged with bringing all the various strands of HIV care and treatment together and taking it forward in a clear and collaborative way. We are hoping that the forthcoming Public Health England (PHE) publication of guidance on whole system commissioning for HIV, sexual and reproductive health commissioning, aiming to bring together the commissioning responsibilities of local government, CCGs and NHS England will address our concerns.”

Recommendations from the report include:

• A national patient experience survey of people living with HIV should be funded by NHS England to help ensure independence is maintained.
• A map of funding routes for HIV should be published as part of the development of PHE’s national framework.
• Targeted advice and information on matters such as nutrition, exercise and smoking cessation should be made available to empower patients to maximise healthy choices.
• Ongoing support for peer networks needs to continue.
• Develop the use of personal health budgets (PHB) among HIV patients
• Bring together groups and charities working with the elderly and those living with HIV to help meet the needs of the ageing cohort.
• Mandatory basic training in HIV to be brought in for all those working in health and social care, helping to increase confidence and competence.


¹ Rosenfeld, D. et al. 2012. HIV and Later Life (HALL) Study. MRC Lifelong Health and Well-being Programme and Keele University.
² Public Health England. 2013. HIV in the United Kingdom: 2013 Report. London: Public Health England.
³ Power, L., Bell, M., Freemantle, I. 2010. A national study of ageing and HIV (50 Plus). York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Note to Editors
1. This research was produced by 2020health as a consultancy project for Gilead. All content, conclusions and views are those of the authors alone. All facts have been cross-checked for accuracy as far as possible.
2. This report is part of 2020health’s work-stream “Forgotten Conditions” which includes research into rare and neglected diseases. 

Press contact

Gail Beer, Director of Operations at 2020health read on Press contact

Kemptown MP Kirby welcomes new HIV report

Kemptown MP Kirby welcomes new HIV report

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for HIV/AIDS, has today welcomed the report from 2020health entitled Growing Older Positively, which reviews the difficulties that are faced by those who are ageing with HIV.

2020health Report Growing older positively: The challenge of ageing with HIV

Growing older positively: The challenge of ageing with HIV

This report reviews how HIV is strategically planned for and managed in the UK today and develops recommendations for Government and the NHS in light of changes in the patient profile. The goal must be to ensure that with appropriate care and support everyone with HIV can live a long and fulfilled life. read on Growing older positively: The challenge of ageing with HIV